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Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio 

Fall 1981 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 

Fall 1981 


Introduction to the Current Issue 2 

Ethical Reasoning: A Philosophical-Psychological Exploration 

by Douglas E. Chismar 4 

Biblical Feminism and the New Testament: A Review of 

Selected Literature by Jerry R. Flora 34 

Guidelines for Sunday School Evaluation 

by Richard E. Allison 48 

A Solemn One Way Trip Becomes a Joyous Roundtrip! 
A Study of the Structure of Luke 24:13-35 
by O. Kenneth Walther 60 

Another Way? 

by Arthur M. Climenhaga 68 

Theses (1980-1981) 76 

Editorial Committee: 

David A. Rausch, Editor 
Douglas E. Chismar 
Joseph N. Kickasola 

Volume XIV No. 1 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

Introduction To The Current Issue 

With this 1981 issue we introduce a new name, a new editor and 
a new format. The name has become the Ashland Theological 
JOURNAL. With this change in name comes a shift from issues 
featuring lengthy articles by one or two authors to publishing a 
number of shorter articles allowing for greater faculty participa- 
tion. Our conception of the journal is that it would include schol- 
arly works, reviews and other essays from a number of disciplines. 
In this issue, for example, we include a number of current faculty 
projects as well as a synopsis of thesis research by 1981 graduating 
Seniors. As the new editor, I would like to thank Dr. Joseph Kic- 
kasola for his previous service as editor and for graciously choosing 
to remain on the editorial committee. 

Our major scholarly article is by Professor Douglas E. Chismar, 
Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics. The questions 
he raises and discusses are pertinent to our daily lives. Can we 
reason about our ethical beliefs? How much are our moral attitudes 
simply a matter of feelings and emotions? We Christians are faced 
with many in our modern culture who believe that it is useless or 
impossible to reason about ethics; the result is relativism, the belief 
that "whatever an individual believes to be true is true for him." 
Professor Chismar, reporting on his current doctoral dissertation at 
Ohio State University, explores a number of possible approaches to 
ethical reasoning. He then takes some first steps toward construct- 
ing an approach of his own — a multi-faceted model of ethical "at- 
titudes" which allows for the role of feelings and emotions in ethi- 
cal belief, while preserving the cognitive or rational dimension. 
The approach thus treats we humans realistically as the emotional 
beings that we are, yet holds out for the possibility of rationally as- 
sessing ethical orientations and value systems through the consid- 
eration of "cognitive structures." As Christians seek to defend their 
faith and to touch the culture around them, they require a consis- 
tent and biblical understanding of human nature in order to ac- 
complish their task. This model that Professor Chismar shares 
with us is exciting and of great import because it promises to open 
up new and fruitful ways to conceive of humans as they engage in 
ethical reasoning. 

In our second article, "Biblical Feminism and the New Testa- 
ment," Dr. Jerry R. Flora, Associate Professor of Christian Theol- 
ogy, reports to us the initial stages of his current research. Sharing 
with us four major books on women and the New Testament, Pro- 
fessor Flora articulates, reviews and contrasts the approaches that 
are used and lays solid groundwork for further study. In a careful 

and considerate manner, Dr. Flora lucidly treats monographs both 
favoring and opposing "biblical feminism." I'm sure the treatment 
of this important issue will be of interest to all. 

In the realm of Christian Education, our resident expert Dr. 
Richard E. Allison, Associate Professor of Christian Education, 
provides us with a useful tool for "formative evaluation" of a Sun- 
day School program. His five-part questionnaire covers areas such 
as pastoral leadership, adequate planning and learner focus. A pro- 
duct of Dr. Allison's most recent seminars on church expansion, 
this tool and accompanying charts is both valuable and implement- 

In "A Solemn One Way Trip Becomes a Joyous Roundtrip!," Dr. 
O. Kenneth Walther, Associate Professor of Greek and New Testa- 
ment, gives us a new perspective on Luke's account of the Emmaus 
appearance. Using the motif of the "Parabolic Ballad," Professor 
Walther creatively illustrates the intriguing structure of the ac- 
count and provides keen insight into the passage. 

It is hoped that in each issue we may include a more sermonic 
piece. In this particular issue, Dr. Arthur M. Climenhaga, Director 
of Academic Affairs and Professor of Theology and Missions, 
exhorts us to vigilance in "Another Way?" This was the first in a 
series of Staley lectures delivered at Malone College on January 
20, 1981. 

This issue represents well the eclectic nature of our faculty and 
some of their scholarly interests. Not every faculty member in this 
issue, for example, would necessarily agree with his fellow con- 
tributors. And yet, there is a love and mutual respect on this cam- 
pus that transcends differences of viewpoint and fosters a caring 
community characterized by tolerance. 

— David A. Rausch, Editor 

Ethical Reasoning: A Philosophical-Psychological 


by Douglas E. Chismar 

Since Aristotle's writing of the Nicomachean Ethics, philosophers 
have sought to understand the nature and scope of ethical reason- 
ing. Some of the most insightful attempts have been those which 
worked to integrate the investigation of ethical questions with re- 
lated topics in other areas of knowledge. Such related areas have 
included epistemology, metaphysics, and the social sciences. In this 
paper, we wills consider attempts to understand the nature of ethi- 
cal reasoning which bring psychological and philosophical issues 
into a common forum. 

Psychology and philosophy have been veritable "bosom buddies," 
particularly since the dawn of modern (post-medieval) philosophy. 
Modern philosophers, often beginning from an epistemological 
standpoint, have on many an occasion blundered unwittingly into 
doing primitive psychology. An example is Hume's lengthy and de- 
tailed treatment of the emotions in the second Enquiry. Others 
have been openly enamored to a prominent psychological perspec- 
tive, and have sought to remake philosophy accordingly. Thus in 
W.V. Quine's Word and Object, behaviorism and epistemology be- 
come one. Hopefully, these two approaches do not exhaust the al- 
ternatives. Whatever approach one chooses, philosophers cannot af- 
ford to overlook the many insights afforded them by contemporary 
psychology. This is especially the case in regard to the study of 
ethical reasoning. 

Moral or ethical reasoning (we shall use the terms synonom- 
ously) denotes the thinking processes which play a part in the 
making of moral decisions. Philosophers historically have made 
numerous attempts to define in some detail the nature of these pro- 
cesses. The study is made problematic by the fact that philosophers 
are concerned not only with describing how people do often think, 
but also how they ought to think. That is, it is occupied with pre- 
scriptive as well as descriptive considerations. To define moral 
reasoning, for most philosophers, is to offer a normative theory 
which, when consistently applied, correctly sets the boundaries of 
morally acceptable conduct.' Having defined a theory, it is put to 
the test over a wide range of applications in search of counterexam- 
ples — instances in which the method of reasoning turns out to be 
flawed, leading to undesirable consequences. Thus utilitarian 
theories are challenged by cases in which the sacrifice of a minor- 
ity appears to bring about the greatest happiness of the greatest 

number; Kantian deontological theories are tested by cases in 
which actions judged inherently wrong by the theory (e.g., lying) 
appear to actually be justified when alternative actions seem to 
lead to even worse consequences (not lying, and sacrificing a life). 
Moral theories which yield outcomes which are clearly contrary to 
the standard intuitions or widely accepted moral beliefs of one's 
moral community are either rejected or modified to cover the ad- 
verse cases. 

Essential to the process of testing moral theories, as we have de- 
scribed it, is the availability or a relatively unquestioned standard 
against which the outcomes of a theory can be tested. This stan- 
dard may be revealed truth (the Bible), but for many philosophers 
it is simply a set of actions or qualities the normative acceptability 
of which is basically uncontroversial. Hence, a theory which al- 
lows, across the board, for arbitrary taking of life, stealing, or 
cheating is obviously unacceptable. Likewise, an approach which 
does not find a place of merit for such praiseworthy qualities as al- 
truism or fairness is an approach destined for the ethical scrap pile. 
Only after a theory passes these initial, uncontroversial tests, can 
it be then applied to more difficult ethical issues in which no stan- 
dard or agreed-upon intuitions are available to guide the way. 

The basic intuitions of a moral community are those which play 
the most central part in what are often referred to as "value sys- 
tems". Value theory is an important point of confluence of 
philosophy and psychology. Philosophers are concerned with iden- 
tifying the most fundamental values, and the role they play in 
moral reasoning. Psychologists seek to describe the formation, 
maintenance, structuring and change of value systems, especially 
as values have impact upon behavior. We will discuss values and 
their relation to moral reasoning when treating "attitudes" in a 
later section. 

An even more important juncture of philosophy and psychology 
has to do with defining the concept of "rationality". As we shall ob- 
serve in the next section, philosophers have often disagreed on 
what they view as "rational" procedure. One may mean simply 
being consistent, or one may go further to state the ends with 
which one must be consistent. Psychologists also discuss the con- 
cept of rationality, but generally extend its meaning beyond a 
purely cognitive sense to embrace the idea of a high or efficient 
level of individual functioning. How this expanded notion of ration- 
ality relates to the judgment of good and bad ethical reasoning will 
be a topic of interest in the latter portions of this paper. At this 
point, we note five important issues surrounding ethical reasoning 
and rationality: 

(1) What does it mean to be "rational" in one's moral reasoning? 

(2) To what extent is reason (cognition) a determinant of the 
individual's moral decisions? Are moral decisions the result of 
reasons, causes, or both? 

(3) To what extent can an individual become more rational in his 
moral decision-making? 

(4) To what extent is it desirable that moral decision making be a 
cognitive, rational process (e.g., in some cases, a warm heart 
might be preferable to a "cold, calculating mind")? 

(5) Can psychological characterizations of moral reasoning styles 
aid us in evaluating philosophically-constructed ethical 

In the following section, we will survey some of the attempts of 
philosophers and psychologists to answer these difficult questions. 
In order to highlight one important variable (relating to question 
No. 2), we arrange the surveyed theoretical approaches along a 
cognitive-noncognitive continuum. Highly cognitive approaches 
are those which stress that reasoning plays a significant role in the 
formation of values and beliefs, and in deciding verbal and be- 
havioral outcomes. Noncognitive approaches are those which inter- 
pret moral decision making, and the process of moral reasoning in 
general, as largely the result of nonrational causes, whether inter- 
nally generated or the product of environmental impingements. It 
turns out that both philosophers and psychologists have staked out 
a number of positions on the cognitive-noncognitive continuum. 

I. Some Theoretical Approaches to Ethical Reasoning 

A Noncognitive Psychological Approach 

Psychology as a discipline began in a highly mentalistic fashion 
(perhaps as an offshoot of philosophical epistemology). Thus early 
psychological treatments were strongly cognitive in nature. A 
major turning point was the appearance of Sigmund Freud's 
psychoanalytic perspective. According to Freud, most human be- 
havior is to be explained as a result of the interplay of largely un- 
conscious drives. He maintains "that mental processes are essen- 
tially unconscious, and that those which are conscious are merely 
isolated acts and parts of the whole psychic entity."^ Freud portrays 
the embattled ego, constrained by reality, impelled by the guilt- 
producing demands of the superego, and striving to hold down the 
thrusts of the libido, which is an overflowing well of biological 
energy.^ According to the psychoanalytic perspective, reasoning 
processes exist primarily to fulfill the purpose of rationalization — 
the justification to the ego of the inevitable inner conflict taking 
place between the various drives and impulses. Rationalization 

often takes the form of "defense mechanisms," by which inner ten- 
sions are at least temporarily released. Typical examples are ag- 
gression, regression, projection, withdrawal and repression. 

One's style of reasoning, then, is often but a post facto expression 
of inner events and conflicts. While it may serve as a useful indi- 
cator to certain unconscious events (as indirectly manifested), 
reasoning itself is ultimately but a facade, jabbering on about 
things which have little to do with what is really important to the 
individual. Reasoning is viewed as a function of more basic events, 
motivations and causes hidden in the personality structure.* Moral 
reasoning is especially suspect in that it is a tool of repressive 
societal moral systems — viewed by Freud in at least one stage of 
his career as a major cause of mental illness. Opposition of the so- 
cially-approved internalized moral norms to the flow of energy 
which constitutes the "id" leads to anxiety, guilt, "reaction forma- 
tions," etc. Needless to say, this view casts the activity to moral 
reasoning in an extremely morbid and skeptical light. 

A Noncognitive Philosophical Approach 

A somewhat similar model is offered by Charles L. Stevenson. 
Stevenson distinguishes between a "disagreement in belief and a 
"disagreement in attitude." These two kinds of disagreements can 
take place in every kind of discourse, ethics as well. Because two 
kinds of disagreement are possible, our concept of ethical reasoning 
must somehow be expanded to include both: 

If ethical arguments, as we encounter them in everyday life, in- 
volved disagreement in belief exclusively — whether the beliefs 
were about attitudes or about something else — then I should have 
no quarrel with the ordinary sort of naturalistic analysis. Norma- 
tive judgments could be taken as scientific statements, and amen- 
able to the usual scientific proof. But a moment's attention will 
readily show that disagreement in belief has not the exclusive 
role that theory has so repeatedly ascribed to it. It must be readily 
granted that ethical arguments usually involve disagreement in 
belief; but they also involve disagreement in attitude. And the 
conspicious role of disagreement in attitude is what we usually 
take, whether we realize it or not, as the distinguishing feature of 
ethical arguments.® 

Accordingly, Stevenson arrives at a "working model" of moral 
terms which does justice to this heavily attitudinal character 
which he finds characterizing ethical discussions. 'This is good' is 
translated into 'I approve of this; do so as well,' while This is bad' 
becomes T disapprove of this; do so as well.'® Stevenson acknow- 
ledges that this is a "crude" interpretation (and suggests some pos- 
sible alterations), but adopts these as a sufficiently usable working 

A great deal of Stevenson's attention is devoted to the question of 
how ethical disagreements are to be resolved. Stuart Chase, in a 
review of Stevenson's Ethics and Language, concludes that this 
amounts to the basic question, "how much can individuals be influ- 
enced by reason?"^ Stevenson resolves this question into two sepa- 
rate ones, corresponding to the dual categories of disagreements in 
belief and disagreements in attitude. Disagreements in belief, he 
suggests, are highly amenable to resolution, essentially through 
appeal to the scientific method.^ This may also lead to resolution of 
disagreement in attitudes, "due simply to the psychological fact 
that altered beliefs may cause altered attitudes. "'^ In this case, com- 
plete agreement on an ethical issue (a dispute about values) has 
been obtained, as both forms of disagreement are resolved. 

Unfortunately, while one might hope that scientific and rational 
methods could solve all ethical disputes, such hopes do not find 
support in experience. Stevenson notes that "it is logically possible, 
at least, that two men should continue to disagree in attitude even 
though they had all their beliefs in common, and even though 
neither had made any logical or inductive error. "^° Continuing dis- 
agreements (in attitude) are common, inasmuch as they are often 
due to "differences in temperament, or in early training, or in so- 
cial status" — matters relatively closed to the sphere of rational dis- 
cussion." Given that this is the case, Stevenson pessimistically 
concludes that disagreement in ethical attitudes generally persist 
until non-rational methods for dealing with them are applied (e.g., 
impassioned, moving oratory). Thus, the task of the moralist is oc- 
casionally a cognitive, or rational one, but more often a noncogni- 
tive "persuasive" one. "Insofar as normative ethics draws from the 
sciences, in order to change attitudes via changing people's beliefs, 
it draws from all the sciences; but a moralist's peculiar aim — that 
of redirecting attitudes — is a type of activity, rather than knowledge, 
and falls within no science."'^ 

A Modified Noncognitive Approach 

In Book III, Part I, section 1 of the Treatise, David Hume raises 
the question "whether 'tis by means of our ideas or impressions we 
distinguish betwixt vice and virtue, and pronounce an action 
blameable and praise-worthy?"" Those holding that virtue "is no- 
thing but a conformity to reason" and that there are "eternal fit- 
nesses and unfitnesses of things, which are the same to every ra- 
tional being that considers them" are those who "concur in the 
opinion, that morality, like truth, is discern'd merely by ideas." 
Hume concludes, on the contrary, that as morals have an influence 
on actions, "they cannot be deriv'd from reason." "Morals excite 
passions, and produce or prevent actions. Reason of itself is utterly 


impotent in this particular. The rules of morality, therefore, are 
not conclusions of our reason."^* 

In the remainder of the Treatise, Hume attempts to explain how 
the difference between vice and virtue is to be traced to "some im- 
pression or sentiment they occasion." He endeavors to define this 
"moral sense" as a "peculiar kind" of pleasure and pain, felt "only 
when a character is considered in general, without reference to our 
particular interest"^^ (though it may be the generalized result of 
particular, self-interested experiences in the past). In addition, he 
works to offer an account of the genesis of these sentiments, both 
from natural and artificial origins. Justice, for example, is of artifi- 
cial origin, coming to be valued by men due to its learned utility, it 
being "requisite to the public interest, and to that of every indi- 
vidual."^*^ The sense of sympathy for others, on the other hand, is 
natural, insofar as "the minds of all men are similar in their feel- 
ings and operations. "^^ In the Enquiry, Hume discusses this cate- 
gory in great detail, noting those qualities which are "immediately 
agreeable to ourselves" and those "immediately agreeable to 
others."^^ These qualities, as "agreeable" ones, differing from those 
perceived as "useful," evoke immediately the peculiar kind of senti- 
ments of easiness or satisfaction which eventually come to be de- 
signated "virtue and vice." It is in this way that Hume attempts to 
offer an explanation, if not justification, for the presence of "stan- 
dard intuitions" spoken of in the introduction to this paper. 

To sum up, reasoning is involved with the discernment of right 
and wrong in only a mediate or indirect way.^^ Reason, as "the dis- 
covery of truth or falsehood," has to do solely with "an agreement 
or disagreement either to the real relations of ideas, or to real exis- 
tence and matters of fact;" these are "original facts and realities, 
complete in themselves, and implying no reference to other pass- 
ions, volitions or actions."^" As applied to ethics, reason has but two 
functions. It (1) sometimes "excites a passion by informing us of the 
existence of something which is a proper object of it," and (2) "it 
discovers the connection of causes and effects so as to afford us 
means of exerting any passion. "^^ reason and judgment may be "the 
mediate cause of an action, by prompting or by directing a pass- 
ion. "^^ Outside of these two roles, however, reason is "wholly inac- 
tive, and can never be the source of so active a principle as consci- 
ence, or a sense of morals. "^^ 

Before moving on, we note that a major difference between 
Hume's account, and that of Stevenson, is that Hume attempts to 
offer a rational explanation for the kinds of sentiments humans ex- 
perience. Although ethical norms are founded on the basis of senti- 
ment and not reasons, a "reason" can be given for the occurrence of 
the sentiments, based on the "usefulness or agreeableness" or their 
objects. These "meta-reasons" for ethical norms are employed when 

Hume argues against the "sensible knave" who would violate the 
conventional moralty for his own profit. Stevenson, emphasizing 
individual differences in personality and upbringing, does not at- 
tempt to offer this kind of metatheoretical rationale. 

A Cognitive Psychological Approach 

Lawrence Kohlberg, an educator, psychologist and philosopher 
from Harvard University, has been particularly concerned to 
evolve a successful method of moral education capable of inducing 
moral character growth in individuals regardless of their present 
state of moral development. In order to accomplish this, he has con- 
structed a developmental model and corresponding measuring in- 
struments by which it is possible to determine an individual's stage 
of development. Through strongly cognitive methods, Kohlberg 
seeks to bring subjects to a conscious awareness of how far they 
have advanced, and hopefully to further progress in their style of 
moral reasoning. Kohlberg's method offers the hope of precision 
and controlled testing of moral education techniques; as a result, 
he has received much attention in the literature and has attracted 
an enthusiastic band of disciples. However, he has also not been 
without his critics. The following is his essential method, as it has 
evolved in the past twenty years. ^'' 

Kohlberg's approach is generally described as a "cognitive-de- 
velopmental" approach. ^^ This is an excellent description, captur- 
ing the central motifs of his thought. On the one hand, it is a cogni- 
tive approach. Kohlberg is centrally committed to the importance 
of cognition (i.e., of thinking and reasoning processes) in moral de- 
cision-making. This does not entail that he accepts the classical no- 
tion of the "rational man" — i.e., the view that humans, like virtual 
computers are eminently rational beings, scarcely swayed by feel- 
ings, motivations or other baser sorts of impulses. A century of 
psychology and generations of human experience have served to 
sufficiently dispel that notion. Yet Kohlberg does not swing to the 
other extreme with the noncognitivists (cf. supra). Reasoning is re- 
garded by Kohlberg as an important if not all-encompassing, deter- 
minant of human action. This renders the study of the modes of 
cognitive processing (in this case, about ethical matters) highly sig- 
nificant. Which leads to the second primary motif of Kohlberg's 

Influenced greatly by the developmental theory and research of 
Jean Piaget,^** Kohlberg maintains that individuals advance 
through predictable stages of development in their ability to think 
and reason. Thus, certain essential cognitive capacities (e.g., the 
ability to make fine or subtle distinctions) are less present or even 
absent in the young child, but gradually come into play as the child 


develops both mentally and socially. Some, who suffer genetic im- 
pairments in learning abilities, may never develop these skills. 
Generalizing upon these observations, if one's cognitive skills are 
such that they develop over time according to a fairly regular se- 
quence of growth, then one's moral reasoning abilities as well must 
develop according to this same sequence. It becomes possible, then, 
to postulate stages of moral reasoning development and, presuming 
(as Kohlberg does) that moral reasoning plays a significant role in 
determining moral behavior, one can suggest general stages of 
moral development, as based on the stage at which one reasons. 
This completes the essential theoretical background of Kohlberg's 
approach; it remains to note the techniques by which he measures 
and identifies these "stages," and some of the proposed strategies 
for enhancing moral development which he has sought to test in a 
variety of moral education settings. 

Identification of the stages of moral reasoning is made possible 
by the assumed link between styles of moral thinking and moral 
behavior outcomes. Kohlberg begins by searching out a short list of 
uncontroversially praiseworthy moral traits such as helping, shar- 
ing and resisting the temptation to cheat. ^^ His next step is both a 
conceptual and empirical one. In terms of conceptual analysis, he 
considers approaches to thinking about ethics most likely to moti- 
vate one to maximize these morally praiseworthy behaviors in 
one's own conduct patterns. In line with his own philosophical pre- 
ferences, and Piaget's cognitive analysis, he chooses theoretical 
reasoning approaches emphasizing justice, fairness and individual 
autonomy. Conjointly, through an empirical interview process, 
Kohlberg identifies regularities in the thinking patterns of those 
not so accustomed to maximizing these behaviors (e.g., juvenile de- 
linquents, hardened criminals) and those who often exemplify 
them (Kohlberg's enlightened colleagues? Those in the "helping 
professions?). Collation of the results of these two approaches 
yields, for Kohlberg, a set of six stages, divided into three basic 
levels.^^ This schema can now be submitted to further testing, par- 
ticularly for predictive accuracy (e.g., can one identify the har- 
dened criminal by blind exposure to a sample of his moral reason- 
ing or, vice versa, can one predict how a self-sacrificing missionary 
doctor will answer questions on a moral reasoning interview?). 

Finally, assuming that Kohlberg's six stages schema has re- 
ceived a high degree of experimental confirmation (as claimed by 
many adherants, and contested by the critics), ^'' it can now be 
employed as a measuring device to determine when instances of 
moral development have taken place. A variety of techniques can 
thus be tested against the Kohlberg scale to determine their effi- 
cacy in producing an increased facility in moral reasoning. 

Two particular techniques employed quite often are those of the 


moral dilemma and moral role-playing (the two are often combined 
in one exercise). An individual or entire group is challenged to take 
positions in a difficult moral dilemma; their manner of reasoning 
about the problem is then analyzed, and they are invited to assess 
their development according to the Kohlberg scale. This is often re- 
ferred to as a form of "values clarification," inasmuch as the em- 
phasis is not so much upon immediate change as upon gaining 
awareness of how one thinks at a particular time. 

A Cognitive Philosophical Approach 

Another strongly cognitive model is that of Immanuel Kant. In 
The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant argues that 
reason, and not other casual factors, is the only true motivating 
force behind ethical decision-making. This is not true of decision- 
making in other action-oriented disciplines, hence this is often re- 
ferred to as an argument for the "autonomy of ethics." Kant argues 
that actions which have truly moral connotations are those which 
are motivated by duty, a uniquely rational form of practical neces- 

The practical necessity of acting on this principle — that is, duty — 
is in no way based on feelings, impulses, and inclinations, but 
only on the relation of rational beings to one another, a relation 
in which the will of a rational being must always be regarded as 
making universal law, because otherwise he could not be con- 
ceived as an end in himself.'" 

Man, viewed as a rational being, is an end in himself, and thus 
"the maker of universal law;"^' Kant maintains this in the context 
of a complex argument interconnecting the notions of man's ration- 
ality, his freedom, and dignity. This is summed up well in the con- 
cept of autonomy, which implies both freedom and law-making, 
law-making then implying rationality. Man, as a highly dignified 
and rational creature, regulates himself through the operation of 
his own reason; it is reason (i.e., himself gua reasoner) and nothing 
else that binds him when he acts according to duty. 

Such actions too need no recommendation from any subjective dis- 
position or taste in order to meet with favour and approval; they 
need no immediate propensity or feeling for themselves; they 
exhibit the will which performs them as an object of immediate 
reverence; nor is anything other than reason required to impose 
them upon the will, nor to coax them from the will — which last 
would anyhow be a contradition in the case of duties.'^ 

Kant thus revolts against conceptions of ethical reasoning which 
ascribe significant causal roles to non-cognitive feelings, senti- 
ments or attitudes; these are in essential contradiction to Kant's 
view of the dignity and autonomy of man. 


It follows equally that this dignity (or prerogative) of his above all 
mere things of nature carries with it the necessity of always 
choosing his maxims from the point of view of himself — and also 
of every other rational being — as a maker of law (and this is why 
they are called persons).^* 

In order to construct a corresponding method of ethical reason- 
ing, Kant must find some w^ay in which reason alone can function 
as a determinant or motivating force of action.^'* To do so, he con- 
structs a theory of ethical reasoning founded on "conformity to uni- 
versal law as such." This consists of, in essence, a test of consis- 
tency by which it is determined whether a suggested maxim could 
be followed through consistently (i.e., "rationally") by a rational in- 
dividual. In the various forms of the Categorical Imperative offered 
by Kant, this amounts to testing the "universalizability" of the 
maxim (which, after all, is supposed to be a "universal law"). The 
obligatory force of acceptable maxims comes from one's having po- 
sited them for oneself as a well-functioning rational being (as well 
as from the equally necessary rational implication of one's duty to 
all other rational beings as members of a kingdom of ends). The 
motivating force is reason, but reason in the form of a universal 
law posited by oneself. Hence, ultimately, the motivation for obedi- 
ence to moral standards consists of one's act of volition — but this, 
as opposed to Hume,^^ is viewed as an act rational in its very na- 
ture (it is a "rational being" that acts). 

To conclude, Kant thus develops a highly cognitive view of ethics 
and ethical reasoning, based primarily on his image of man. While 
he acknowledges the role of other, non-cognitive factors on the 
human person (man viewed from the "point of view of the sensible 
world"),^*^ he also maintains man's capacity to transcend these in- 
fluences, making spontaneous rational decisions which are self- 
binding. Moral reasoning consists of demonstrating, via the 
Categorical Imperative, that a proposed maxim is genuinely of this 
spontaneous and rational character, and not an expression of baser, 
selfish instincts. 

A Modified Cognitive Approach 

Like Kant, Hobbes constructs his view of moral reasoning, and 
his political philosophy in general, around a view of human nature 
and human functioning. Two factors especially stand out. First of 
all, Hobbes' mechanistic psychological egoism. Life "is but a motion 
of Limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principal part within;"^^ 
this principal part, or "spring" is apparently wound up for the pur- 
pose of pursuing self-interest. The will, for Hobbes, is but that 
which "in deliberation (is) the last appetite, or aversion, im- 
mediately adhering to the action, or to the omission thereof."^^ 


Thus, "the voluntary actions, and inclinations of all men, tend, not 
only to the procuring, but also to the assuring of a contented life . . 
. of the voluntary acts of every man, the object is some good to him- 
self."^® The result of this is "a general inclination of all mankind, a 
perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth 
only in death.""" From this ground-level analysis of human motiva- 
tion, Hobbes concludes the necessity of some absolute sovereign 
power, capable of enforcing peace between men otherwise equally 
powerful and equally self-interested, and hence in a constant state 
of war. 

A second important facet of Hobbes' analysis of human nature is 
in regard to the ethical notions and values of mankind. In that 
Hobbes is a psychological egoist, he interprets man's moral notions 
and beliefs in terms of what men value as a function of their per- 
sonal desires and goals. "But whatsoever is the object of any man's 
appetite or desire, that is it which he for his part calleth good; and 
the object of his hate and aversion, evil."*^ "For these words of good 
and evil, and contemptible, are ever used with relation to the per- 
son that useth them: there being nothing simply and absolutely so; 
nor any common rule of good and evil, to be taken from the nature 
of the objects themselves.""^ A priori concepts of moral good or 
rights are denied, as well, by Hobbes' radically empiricist and 
nominalist epistemology."^ "Virtue," then, can only be "that which 
is valued," and "consisteth in comparison;"""* ethics will be con- 
structed upon what is of value to each individual, construed as 
being concerned only with self-interest. Aside from the value one 
has to himself as a human, in general "the WORTH of a man is, as 
of all other things, his price." It is "not absolute . . . but a thing de- 
pendent on the need and judgment of another." Human "dignity" is 
but a function of the "public worth of a man, which is the value set 
on him by the commonwealth.""^ 

This approach is often referred to as an "economic man" view; it 
was this view which was often assumed by early economists for 
theoretical and predictive purposes. David Gauthier sums up the 
economic conception (uniquely suited for describing marketplace 
behavior) in terms of three "dogmas.""^ First, value is conceived of 
as utility, "a measure of subjective, individual preference." Sec- 
ondly, rationality is contrued as maximization of utility: to be ra- 
tional is to decide to act in those ways which offer the highest ex- 
pected value to oneself. Thirdly, individual interests are regarded 
as "non-tuistic:" individuals tend to take primary interest in their 
own needs and wants, deriving utility therefrom."^ On this model, 
rationality plays an important, but primarily instrumental or 
"means-end" role. Behavioral decision theory, from a psychological 
standpoint, has studied in considerable detail the manner in which 
individuals calculate costs and benefits in making utility-maximiz- 


ing decisions/^ Moral reasoning, on this model, is a form of calcula- 
tion (a "Reconing of the consequences" — Hobbes) of the best means 
to essentially selfish ends. It remains for moral theorists of this 
stripe to demonstrate that traditionally moral conduct is a good 
means to selfish ends — a task which has proven immensely dif- 
ficult over time. 

* * * 

In this section we have considered six models of ethical reason- 
ing, ranging on the continuum from noncognitive through highly 
cognitive. It might be noted that we did not consider a psychologi- 
cal model fitting into the "modified" category. A model conve- 
niently classifiable according to this designation will be treated in 
the next section as we discuss a multidimensional attitudinal 
model of ethical reasoning. Before doing so, however, we note some 
of the strengths and weaknesses of the models just surveyed. 

Noncognitive models, first of all, have their greatest strength in 
acknowledging the complexity of human behavior. It is simply im- 
possible to ascribe all human conduct to disciplined rational deci- 
sion-making. Not only do individuals often act inconsistently with 
their stated beliefs, but the very beliefs themselves are often held 
seemingly with no reason at all. Rather, maintenance of the beliefs 
may satisfy some basic internal personal need or drive, or consti- 
tute a form of defense against a perceived threat in the environ- 
ment. Noncognitive models fail, however, in not paying proper re- 
spect to the extent to which humans are rational. As some 
psychologists note, the fact that humans find it necessary to 
"rationalize" is evidence that they want to at least appear rational; 
human reason-giving behavior, which is very common, is an impor- 
tant datum which cannot be overlooked. ^^ Also, considerable evi- 
dence exists that individuals often reject persuasive communica- 
tions which are regarded as failing to offer valid arguments, 
suggesting that not all values and attitudes are held as a result of 
solely noncognitive causes. This does not entail the "rational man" 
who is moved by nothing but reason, but it does imply that sizable 
chunks of human experience are open to rational assessment. 

These weaknesses are more than made up for by cognitive 
theories. Those espousing a cognitive approach give reason a very 
strong role in moral decision-making and conduct. They do not 
hesitate to seek out a correct mode of moral reasoning in the hope 
that the kind of stalemates noncognitivists worry about can be av- 
oided. Cognitive developmentalists account for the frequent fail- 
ures of supposedly rational people to produce moral outcomes by 
noting, as one factor, the ontogenic stages of moral thinking. That 
is, moral reasoning may be a universal phenonmenon, but some do 
it better than others. The weakness of highly cognitive approaches, 
however, is that they often attempt to explain too much in terms of 


stages of cognitive development. It cannot be denied that noncogni- 
tive causes often interfere with the processes of rational assess- 
ment, leading to outcomes quite out of stride with one's cognitive 
developmental stage. ^° For example, one's ability to argue in a very 
mature way for the moral obligation to save a drowning man may 
not be able to overcome one's hydrophobia, operating as a strong 
deterrant against action. Cognitive theories have tended to suffer a 
certain theoretical impoverishment in regard to their ability to 
explain how these noncognitive factors in personality and environ- 
ment interact with normally functioning cognitive processes. One 
thinks, for example, of Kohlberg's stages: can the ordered sequence 
he posits be explained totally by the development of cognitive 
skills? Experimental results militate strongly against this 
hypothesis, suggesting that other, essentially noncognitive factors 
also contribute to determining the level of advancement of one's 
ability to morally reason.'^' 

Turning to the two modified approaches treated in the survey, 
we note similar advantages and shortcomings. Hume's essentially 
noncognitive approach is modified, as noted, in the sense that it at- 
tempts to offer "meta-reasons" for the occurrence of those noncogni- 
tive sentiments socially baptized as "moral." These sentiments are 
shown to have survival value, and it becomes understandable why 
they come to have moral connotations. However, it is difficult to 
move from highly speculative and generalized stories about the 
genesis of sentiments to specific moral judgments, as required in 
controversial or problematic situations. Hume's psychological 
characterization, though often appealing, is simply too vague; like 
the cognitive theories discussed above, it requires theoretical en- 
richment. We will attempt something of this in the next section. 

A similar weakness flaws the "economic man" concept of moral 
reasoning. Without doubt, means-end reasoning is a common and 
vital aspect of human decision making; the many current applica- 
tions of behavioral decision theory in business management and 
government attests to how many areas of human life depend upon 
this kind of thinking. However, it is an oversimplification to as- 
sume that all reasoning is of a means-end sort. In fact, humans act 
in response to a number of motivations, of which personal utility 
maximization is only one. Studies have shown, for example, that in 
order to reduce dissonance between beliefs, individuals will often 
act in ways which do not reflect maximal utility outcomes — even 
when they know that they could have gained those outcomes. Just 
as individuals do not always act to maximize their perceived 
utilities, so also it can be strongly disputed that individuals are 
non-tuistic. As Gauthier notes, it is unfortunate that "acting ra- 
tionally" has come, in accord with the economic man model, to be 
equated with "doing what is in your self interest" (whatever the ef- 


fects may be on others). It is the "individualistic" bias so charac- 
teristic of Western liberal humanism which has evoked sharp criti- 
cism from Marxist theorists, who argue that there is no such thing 
as a "rational" disregard for one's fellow man." 

II. Attitudes and Moral Reasoning 

In order to shed additional light on the nature and scope of moral 
reasoning, we turn to one of the most important areas of research 
in the field of social psychology — that of attitude theory. The con- 
cept of "attitude" has been central to social psychology since it was 
emphasized in Thomas and Znaniecki's seminal study. The Polish 
Peasant in Europe and America (1913).^^ The concept initially stood 
for a "physical positioning" of an object with respect to a back- 
ground. German theoriests at the turn of the century experimented 
with attitudes and psychophysical "sets" or states of readiness in- 
volving muscular preparations for action. Later, the term came to 
have a more subjective connotation (e.g., in Thomas and 
Znaniecki's study), having to do with a subject's mental positioning 
of an object in regard to himself, his values and world, especially in 
the sense that it prepares him for action in regard to the object, 
event or person. Gordon Allport, after noting the difficulty of defin- 
ing the concept (and considering over 100 possibilities!) arrives at 
the following definition: 

An attitude is a mental and neural state of readiness, organized 
through experience, exerting a direct or dynamic influence upon 
the individual's response to all objects and situations with which 
it is related.'^" 

This definition has come to be widely accepted. 

One reason for these many interpretations of attitude is that it is 
a purposely multidimensional construct. Katz and Stotland, in an 
important functional analysis of attitudes, note this peculiar but 
positive attribute: 

Efforts to deal with the real world show our need for a concept 
more flexible and more covert than habit, more specifically 
oriented to social objects than personality traits, less global than 
value systems, more directive than beliefs, and more ideational 
than motive pattern. ^^ 

The weakness of the concept of attitude turns out to be its greatest 
strength: it is a construct which serves the purpose of unifying sev- 
eral different kinds of phenomena occuring in the personality 
structure and social life under the heading of one theoretical vari- 
The three "components" most commonly ascribed to attitudes are 


cognition (knowing), affect (feelings) and behavior (intentions, 
actions, or what is traditionally called "connation").^^ This is a divi- 
sion of the personality which goes back at least to Plato, and has a 
rich and variegated history. Attitudes are postulated, on this 
model, as unified theoretical constructs which systematically integ- 
rate these three functions. Considerable attention to the processes 
which make for this integration has come from the "cognitive con- 
sistency" branch of attitudinal theory." Cognitive consistency 
theorists have noted the tendency of individuals to seek consis- 
tency (i.e., to reduce dissonances or incongruities) between their 
beliefs, feelings and actions in regard to an object or set of related 
objects, events or persons. While logicians have for centuries been 
concerned with the preservation of consistency between beliefs, 
cognitive consistency theorists, as social psychologists, extend this 
interest to the study of the relationship between feelings, behavior 
and beliefs, especially as they are manifested in social contexts. It 
is this school which has done the most to popularize the mul- 
tidimensional concept of attitude. Thus "attitude" becomes a conve- 
nient theoretical arena within which to seek to specify the influ- 
ences and processes involved in the interrelating of the three com- 
ponents. In what follows we will consider a specific attitudinal 
model of these processes advocated by cognitive consistency 
theorist Milton J. Rosenberg. We will suggest that this has consid- 
erable value for understanding the phenomenon of moral reason- 

An Attitudinal Model 

Rosenberg describes his model as an "affective-cognitive consis- 
tency theory."^® This is because it concentrates primarily on the re- 
lationship between those higher order cognitive processes which 
constitute belief systems, and the influence of the individual's af- 
fective coloring of his world. Rosenberg also refers to his theory as 
a system of "symbolic psycho-logic." Psychologic involves the rules 
of inference commonly employed by those processing affectively- 
loaded subject matter.^^ These rules, as Rosenberg notes, might be 
"mortifying to the logician," but as interpreted according to the 
cognitive consistency model, turn out to have a logicality pecul- 
iarly their own. Rosenberg's approach has received some rigorous 
testing (e.g., in his well-known collaboration with Carl Abelson in 
the "Fenwick studies"*'" on interpersonal balance), and has received 
continuing modification and refinement since its initial formula- 
tion in the late 1950s. The theory is best described by means of a 
metaphor Rosenberg employs in a summarizing article.^' 

First, one begins by picturing a finite but vast space called the 
"attitudinal cognitorium" or "attitude universe." Within this space 


are located hundreds or probably thousands of object-concepts, each 
being a verbal or symbolic representation of a person, institution, 
policy, place, event, value standard (or ideal), or any other distinct 
"thing" which when psychologically encountered, elicits some 
fairly stable magnitude of either positive or negative evaluative af- 
fect. Rosenberg suggests that each of these object-concepts might 
be represented by a small metal disk. Between these many disks, 
trying them together, run strings which are thin or thick, red or 
green. Thick strings suggest strong ties between two object-con- 
cepts — strong, that is, as perceived by the self, not necessarily as 
they may be in reality. Thin strings connote more accidental or 
superficial ties, most likely having little to do with the internal 
constitution of the two interconnected objects. Some disks are not 
tied together at all. Red strings stand for negative or disjunctive 
relations, of the sort that might be conveyed by the terms 'opposes,' 
'prevents,' 'dislikes,' 'stays away from,' etc. Rosenberg seems to 
have in mind here a semi-conceptual and semi-affective relation- 
ship. Previous theorists (e.g., Fritz Heider) distinguished between 
"sentiment relations," linked by common feelings, and "unit rela- 
tions" which involve factual or conceptual connections perceived to 
exist between two objects. The latter are presumed to be affectively 
neutral, while the former are affectively loaded. Rosenberg treats 
these as one, so that red strings in general appear to indicate one's 
inability (or unwillingness) to think of two things as being to- 
gether, for either cognitive or affective reasons. They are 
psychologically in tension. Green strings, on the other hand, indi- 
cate a positive or "conjunctive" relationship, as conveyed by such 
terms as 'supports,' 'facilitates,' 'likes,' 'helps' and 'is part of.' 

In an individual's attitudinal universe, then, any given disk is 
tied by red strings to some objects and green strings to others. 
Rosenberg gives as an example such objects as 'air pollution,' 
'Chicago Blackhawks,' 'bituminous coal,' 'the romantic tradition,' 
'Gustav Mahler,' 'Senator Fulbright' and 'my son.' No string ap- 
pears to tie 'Gustav Mahler' to 'Senator Fulbright' or 'the Chicago 
Blackhawks.' However, the disk "Fulbright' is connected by a 
strong red thread to "Vietnam War' and a thinner red string to 'air 
pollution.' Between 'air pollution' (an effectively negative object) 
and 'bituminous coal' exists a strong green thread, especially 
where the individual's experience has been in a coal-burning city 
which is highly polluted. Similar connections can be imagined for 
all of the disks mentioned. Imagining the whole array of thousands 
of disks complexly interconnected, one would expect to see like- 
signed objects most often connected by green strings, while unlike 
signed objects are most often connected by red strings. This would 
be the case to the extent that the individual is consistent in his at- 
titudes. Disks would be connected directly to only a few other disks 


(disks often being arrayed in the form of overlapping clusters), 
while indirectly to hundreds of others. 

This picture enables Rosenberg to offer a metaphorical charac- 
terization of an "attitude." Imagining the entire interconnected 
system of disks arrayed upon a vast floor, we can imagine the effect 
of lifting up one disk a few feet from the surface. The result would 
be the lifting up of other disks — those directly connected, as well as 
a periphery of more intermediately connected items. Those disks 
which are lifted from the surface constitute an attitude, where the 
center disk (the one used to lift up the cluster) is the attitude ob- 
ject. Thus attitudes are regarded, metaphorically, as "radial struc- 
tures" uniting an object to other object-concepts with a high degree 
of affective-cognitive consistency or at least interrelatedness (as 
connoted by the presence of the red and green strings). Lifting up 
one object disk will bring to one's attention other disks towards 
which one will feel either positive or negative affect, depending 
upon their red-stringed or green-stringed relations to the attitude 
object. We note that these relations are those conceived of as exist- 
ing by the subject. They may or may not correspond to actual rela- 
tions in the world, or conform to the standards of logical consis- 
tency. It is also important to observe that the disks occur in often 
highly organized clusters. Larger clusters, having broad organiza- 
tional implications for the entire attitude universe, may be class- 
ified in two ways: 

1. World-views or belief-systems: 

(a) threads primarily designate perceived conceptual or 
factual relations 

(b) the affective loading of the disks is not the preeminent 
factor in the threading process, though it may have some 

(c) the attitude cluster is lifted up for analysis purposes, 
rather than for affectively evaluating an object or action 

2. Value systems: 

(a) threads often (though not always) designate affective 

(b) affective loading of disks is of great importance 

(c) lifting out of the attitude cluster is often for the purpose of 
deciding about the affect sign of an object or action**^ 

These two classifications do not constitute a strict dichotomy. Af- 
fect and cognition, beliefs and value systems often interact (hence 
the ambiguity as to the affective-cognitive nature of the red and 
green threads). Studies on ethnocentrism, for example, have de- 
monstrated that in many cases one's beliefs about another ethnic 
group (conceptual red and green threads tying the concept of the 
ethnic group to other factors, such as stereotypic qualities) play an 
important role in determining one's attitude towards that group. 


This is in marked contrast to both the cognitive and noncognitivist 
stances towards human reasoning and its functioning. 

Rosenberg develops the model we have described in the interest 
of understanding the psychodynamics involved in an individual's 
quest for consistency on various kinds of salient issues.®^ We are 
concerned, however, with attitudinal thinking directed at moral 
questions, and seek a characterization of such thinking as it in- 
volves both belief and value systems. In the next two sections, we 
will attempt to bring the model into clearer focus, examining (1) 
particular types of attitudes as characterized by their functional 
role in the life of the individual, and (2) cognitive styles, expres- 
sing particular configurations or "threads and disks" in an indi- 
vidual's attitude universe. Though attitudes have been examined 
from many conceptual and experimental angles, we suggest that 
these two aspects will be especially helpful in applying our model 
to moral reasoning. 

III. Determination, Functions and Types of Attitudes 

Most contemporary personality theorists agree that there is no 
one unitary drive or homogeneous activation state which accounts 
for all facets of human thinking and behavior.*^* Individuals are dri- 
ven and motivated by a number of needs, appetites, wishes, inten- 
tions and goals varying in intensity, continuity, control by the indi- 
vidual, and openness to conscious awareness and cognitive proces- 
sing. William J. McGuire^^ lists the following factors which have 
come to be widely accepted as significant determinants of attitudes: 
genetic factors (e.g., innate personality characteristics, IQ and, if 
the sociobiologists are right, genertically inbred instincts such as 
altruism), physiological factors (sex, age, physical illnesses, drug- 
induced effects), direct experience with stimulus objects (single 
traumatic incidents or repeated observations), total institutions 
(socializing environments — in general, group influences — tending 
to impart internalizable programs to the individual) and social 
communications (especially those ostensible offering cognitive sup- 
port for a position). In acknowledging these many determinants, 
attitude researchers have traditionally sought to sidestep the "na- 
ture-nurture" debate; they suggest that attitudes are often a func- 
tion of both acquired dispositions and "built-in" functional tenden- 

Attitudes, then, are not "windowless monads," nor even one-win- 
dow affairs. This openness to multiple influences strongly suggests 
that attitudes may serve a number of functions in the individual. 
Katz and Stotland, outlining a general theory of attitudes, discuss 
three basic types of motive patterns which are instrumental to the 


satisfaction of many of the individual's needs.®® As motive patterns 
are important in functionally shaping the structure and direction 
of the attitudes which they generate, in our discussion we will 
equate motive patterns with the attitude types which result from 
them. The three motive patterns are (1) proximal attitudes, (2) ob- 
ject-instrumental attitudes, and (3) ego-instrumental or ego-defen- 
sive attitudes. 

Proximal attitudes are attitudes towards objects regarded as hav- 
ing intrinsic value (i.e., which satisfy needs and wants directly). In 
this case, attitude objects are "consummatory with regard to 
psychological gratification." Examples are foods found agreeable to 
the taste, or the sports car which gives a sense of power and control 
to the driver. The ability of such objects to satisfy needs determines 
their "functional value." Katz and Stotland suggest that the inten- 
sity of affective evaluative qualities (our tendency to call it "good" 
or "bad") in the object may vary with such factors as how readily or 
easily it is satisfied, and the tendency of one's group to evaluate 
the object. 

A second kind of motive pattern-satisfying attitude is the object- 
instrumental type. Such attitudes reflect the "lengthy and some- 
times circuitous pathways" involved in satisfying a motive in a 
complex society characterized by scarcities.®^ In this case, the indi- 
vidual favorably evaluates attitude objects due to their perceived 
instrumental value in attaining his goals. Object-instrumental at- 
titudes usually have a heavily cognitive character due to the need 
to justify the delay and frustration involved in indirectly consum- 
mating valued ends; also a certain cognitive "bolstering" is re- 
quired to justify one means to the end over others.®** 

A third type of attitude is the ego-instrumental or ego-defensive 
type. This plays the role of helping an individual to maintain his 
conception of himself as a certain kind of person. Verbally expres- 
sing these attitudes indicates to others the kind of person one is. 
Whereas in the case of proximal attitudes, the object was gratify- 
ing, and for object-instrumental attitudes, the goal served this pur- 
pose, in this case ego-satisfactions provide the attitude with affec- 
tive thrust. As Katz and Stotland note, two purposes are served by 
this kind of attitude. 

Ego-defensive attitudes protect the ego but their expression also 
gives the individual direct satisfaction. The person who projects 
his own hostilities onto other people and then attacks these hos- 
tile people satisfies two purposes. Projecting his aggression pro- 
tects his self-image from a recognition of undesirable qualities. 
Expressing the aggression gives cathartic release.**'* 

McGuire, offering a similar functionally-defined list of attitude- 
types, distinquishes between the two functions of ego-defense and 


self -realization! expressions^ He also adds another major function — 
that of forming attiudes as organizing devices for knowledge pur- 
poses.^' This kind of attitude may involve no affective loading or 
motive satisfaction except that gained from the sheer enjoyment of 
investigative curiousity or the "love of wisdom." We will refer to 
these as "cognitive -explorative attitudes." 

Attitude Determinants and Moral Reasoning 

Interesting correlations between these attitude tj^jes and the 
theoretical approaches to moral reasoning discussed in Section I 
spring immediately to mind. Proximal attitudes, for example, 
sound strikingly similar to Hume's "sentiments found immediately 
agreeable." Object-instrumental attitudes correlate with economic 
conceptions of reasoning, wherein good reasoning is equated with 
the evaluation of choices yielding maximal expected utility. Self- 
expressive attitudes might be compared to ethical intuitionist ap- 
proaches (not surveyed in Section I), which emphasize self-defining 
moral properties which are phenomenologically identified. Also, 
Kohlberg's approach, with its emphasis upon "post-conventional" 
autonomy, seems to imply a high degree of self-realization, hope- 
fully leading to the increased ability to approach others emphati- 
cally. Finally, cognitive-explorative attitudes resemble highly cog- 
nitive approaches, in which ethical norms and duties tend to be 
transcendentalized, abstracted or eternalized. Are these just play- 
ful comparisons, or do they indicate an important relationship? 

We suggest that these correlations are of high, but not grandiose 
significance. On the one hand, they tend to affirm the psychological 
foundations which support a number of the theoretical approaches 
surveyed in Section I. Each theory appears to reflect something of 
the motivational patterns present in most individuals. However, 
inasmuch as attitudes may serve a multitude of functions, it is un- 
clear why those representing any one motivational need pattern 
should be preferred to all of the others. Object-instrumental at- 
titudes, as expressed in utility-oriented means-end thinking, ac- 
complish important adaptive goals in human functioning. Self-ex- 
pressive attitudes, though, are also vital, facilitating the cathartic 
release of tensions and encouraging growth in self-understanding 
and expression. Why should one type of reasoning be preferred over 
the other? If anything, it is the situation which often forces us to 
make such normative distinctions. It would be poor timing to seek 
to satisfy the love of wisdom when faced with an adaptive crisis re- 
quiring an accurate and quick cost-benefit analysis of outcomes. 

This has interesting implications for our questions about the de- 
gree of cognitivity of ethical reasoning. If ethical reasoning is de- 
fined according to any one type of attitudinal thinking, then we 


can expect that humans will not turn out to be exhaustively rea- 
tional. This is because, as we have seen, no type of attitudinal 
thinking captures the entirety of the human motivational picture. 
The question as to the extent to which individuals can increase in 
their rational capacities would be answered by two considerations. 
First, as Kohlberg points out, this is a question of developmental 
growth in cognitive skills. But secondly, it would involve shifting 
an individual's patterns of need satisfaction, so that he might pre- 
fer one type of attitudinal thinking to another. A person who is 
highly proximal in the way he maintains attitudes is one primarily 
motivated by immediate gratifications.^^ Moral reasoning develop- 
ment for such an individual might consist of introducing him to the 
more varied and lasting kinds of gratification which result from ob- 
ject-instrumental, self-expressive or explorative attitudinal think- 
ing. Such has been the goal of educators since the dawn of time. To 
some degree this can be accomplished through appeal to cognitive 
considerations ("if you keep doing this, here is where it will lead 
you!"). On the other other hand, heavy investment in proximal 
need satisfaction may indicate a psychological impairment of other 
functions due to low esteem and a pattern of frustrated object-in- 
strumental attempts. ^^ Addressing these problems would appear to 
be essential to the further development of applied reasoning 
capacities in such individuals. Various therapeutic method- 
ologies — some highly cognitve — are possible avenue at this point. 

How cognitive should moral decision-making be? This has gener- 
ally been asked in reaction to those seeking to maximize either ob- 
ject-instrumental or cognitive explorative types of thinking. Ob- 
ject-instrumentalists are hence regarded as being "beady-eyed" or 
"cold and unsympathizing," while cognitive-explorationists are 
said to reside in distant ivory towers. The problem here seems to be 
one of determining when it is proper to act out the more cognitive 
attitude functions. Means-ends type thinking seems poorly suited if 
one's task is the discerment within one's heart of whether a motive 
is a selfish one. A self-expressive attitude would better serve the 
purposes, involving as it does an intuitionistic type of reasoning. 
An important philosophical project (which we will not attempt in 
this paper) would be to determine the conditions specifying the 
applicability of each moral reasoning approach. When is it right to 
be a means-end thinker? When is it right to abstract moral ques- 
tions from specific situations? Recognizing that moral reasoning 
approaches reflect a variety of attitudinal functions (all of which 
are sometimes beneficial ones) casts questions about the cognitivity 
of moral decision-making in an entirely different light. 

One final application of our study of attitude types has to do with 
moral reasoning and ego-defensive attitudes. Among the five kinds 
of attitude types, ego-defense is most often associated with insufii- 


cient and self-defeating kinds of behavior. Though some degree of 
defensiveness is necessary for any person on this side of heaven's 
gates, heavy indulgence in ego-defense is not seen as a healthy 
psychological orientation. It is "irrational" in the sense that it does 
not serve the long range purposes of the individual. To use 
Fromm's terminology, it is a "nonproductive orientation."^'* Here a 
normative concept of "good functioning" crosses paths with the 
psychological description of a type of attitude. Were we able to 
identify forms of moral reasoning with this type of attitude, we 
might have the privilege of making normative distinctions based 
on the study of attitudes. 

But this leads us to questions of attitudinal structure. Ego-defen- 
sive reasoning can of course be identified by its self-justificatory 
and others-condemning character. But moral reasoning expressive 
of ego-defensive attitudes appears to cross theoretical lines: one 
may be a defensive utilitarian or a defensive deontologist. Only a 
more fine-grained analysis will reveal the difference between 
overly defensive versus relatively undefensive ethical reasoning. 
To this we turn. 

IV. Cognitive Styles and Moral Reasoning 

Another aspect of attitude research may bear more fruit in our 
attempt to make normative distinctions. One of the motivations be- 
hind the development of twentieth century social psychology has 
been to understand the thinking styles of those who are regarded 
(via an a priori normative judgment) as causing problems for soci- 
ety. Two particular targets of this investigation are criminals and 
bigots. Many interesting psychological portraits of "the criminal 
mind" exist; unfortunately, many of these conflict, and the success 
rate of treatment in connection with these diagnoses has been dis- 
mally low. On the other hand, psychological characterizations of 
the "cognitive styles" of racial and ethnic bigots have achieved re- 
latively wide acceptance and agreement.^^ In addition, some suc- 
cess has been reported in reeducation and attitude change of these 
personality types. Thus, we will concentrate on this latter type, as 
illustrative of cognitive styles which are regarded as being both 
normatively unacceptable and (though not in a strictly pathologi- 
cal sense) psychologically unhealthy and undesirable. 

Cognitive styles have been described by means of a number of 
hypothesized dimensions. One of the most famous is Milton 
Rokeach's "open and closed mind." The following statement is rep- 
resentative of Rokeach's findings: 

Some major findings that come out of such studies are that per- 
sons who are high in ethnic prejudice and/or authoritarianism, as 


compared with persons who are low, are more rigid in their prob- 
lem-solving behavior, more concrete in their thinking, and more 
narrow in their grasp of a particular subject; they also have a 
greater tendency to premature closure in their perceptual pro- 
cesses and to distortions in memory, and a greater tendency to be 
intolerant of ambiguity.^® 

Other such structural characteristics expressing themselves in cog- 
nitive styles are the "authoritarian personality," the others-di- 
rected conformist, the undifferentiated or field-dependent thinker, 
and those with "low latitudes of acceptance," high measures of con- 
creteness, minimal category width, and a relative inability to dis- 
tinguish source from concept. Whether these may someday be re- 
duced to some one essential variable, they all represent structural 
properties affecting reasoning styles which have been found to cor- 
relate with undesirable or normatively unacceptable personality 
types. It will be noted that this is similar to Kohlberg's approach, 
except that it descends one theoretical level deeper into attitudinal 
processes in order to explain why an individual reasons as he does. 
Moral reasoning approaches which are unsatisfactory are, as we 
have noted, characterized by peculiar cognitive organizations. 
Employing our section II model, we might describe them as consist- 
ing of a number of affectively-loaded clusters. The clusters tend to 
be relatively limited in size (low category width), have extremely 
well-defined boundaries (concreteness) and are either quite de- 
tached from each other or separated by red threads. ^^ Each cluster 
is characterized by a high degree of internal consistency (low dif- 
ferentiation). This consistency, however, is most often achieved by 
coupling like-signed disks. Where threads run between disks, they 
are usually green ones, and they stand for affective, as opposed to 
factual relations. Most of the disks are attached to the self-concept 
by such threads. This suggests that attitude objects are evaluated 
based upon their perceived consistency with the self-image. Degree 
or ego-involvement would determine the intensity of affective reac- 
tion to the object. Where self-image needs support, atttiude objects 
perceived of as agreeing with and likable to the individual are 
strongly knit to one by positive relations. "Enemies" to the self or 
to perceived friends and allies are distanced by red threads in ac- 
cord with the strategies of ego defense. Consistency is maintained 
primarily by like-signedness, rather than by means of logical-con- 
ceptual relations. As a result, many logical inconsistencies may 
exist, hidden by the seeming consistency of affective ties. Finally, 
such systems are characterized by swift and radical change. Should 
an important element in a cluster be perceived as changing sign, 
an entire cluster might immediately suffer disgrace, or be raised to 
a position of honor. 


This model corresponds nicely to some of the results of cognitive 
developmental theory. Developmentalists are concerned to increase 
such factors as the individual's willingness to seek his own stan- 
dards (autonomy), the ability to appreciate subtle differences in 
situations, consistency, the ability to think consequentially, and 
the inclination and capacity to empathize. All of these are affected 
by one's attitudinal structure. Tightly knit clusters having extreme 
affective significance (due to heavy ego-involvement and defensive- 
ness) discourage one from taking risks in one's thinking, as this 
would be to "go out on one's own" without the protection of one's 
clustered attitude objects. Subtleties in general cannot be perceived 
in an attitude system which insists on placing every attitude object 
in strongly homogenous positive or negative clusters. Consistency 
and consequential thinking are both affected by the preference for 
affective over conceptual and factual ties between objects. Those 
perceived as favorable will often be attached by green threads, 
even when the facts or logic indicate that red threads should be 
placed. Finally, empathic skills are limited by (a) the tendency to 
classify as positive or negative, and (b) inability to make imagina- 
tive leaps (via "principles") to unclustered attitude objects. Often, 
foreign alien objects are automatically classified as unfavorable 
unless direct experience of them as nonthreatening or favorable 
takes place. 

How can such thinking be changed? In terms of our model, this 
might mean rearranging clusters attitudinally into less of a black 
and white pattern through (a) eliminating false relations between 
objects based on incorrect beliefs, (b) eliminating the number of re- 
lations between objects established purely on the basis of like- 
signed affective loading, and (c) establishing new, differentiated 
clusters of attitudes through introducing new relationships be- 
tween previously unconnected disks. Both (a) and (c) involve 
primarily cognitve readjustments, which might be done through 
classroom exercises and educational experiences. However, (b) is 
more difficult, inasmuch as the tendency to build affectively simi- 
lar clusters is often an expression of ego-defense, unresolved con- 
flicts, insecurity and poor self-image, etc. Unless these functional 
determinants are treated, perhaps through counseling, the motiva- 
tion to continue building such structures will wipe out any tempor- 
ary readjustments. 


Our treatment of cognitive styles suggests another approach to 
distinguishing between methods of ethical reasoning. On the other 
hand, there is the theoretical approach (cf. Section I). We have 
suggested (Section III) that one's preference for a theoretical ap- 


proach may vary according to the function its correlative type of at- 
titudinal thinking plays for him in terms of his motivations, needs, 
and situational requirements. This is regrettably simplistic, but at 
least illustrates the point that unqualified appeal to any one mo- 
tive in human nature will not suffice to establish the correct ethi- 
cal theory. 

Our second approach is rooted in a concept of "rationality" as 
psychological good-functioning. We described cognitive organiza- 
tions which are not regarded as products of a well-functioning per- 
sonality, and attempted to suggest styles of reasoning behavior 
which would tend to characterize these structures. This approach 
helps little in choosing between ethical theories (one can be an 
open or closed-minded utilitarian just as much as an intuitionist); a 
preponderance of ego-defensive attitudes, as expressed in unheal- 
thy cognitive styles, interferes equally with all other basic func- 
tions of the personality, and any of the ethical theories may be put 
to a devious if inconsistent use. Analysis of moral reasoning in 
terms of cognitive styles is helpful in theoretically identifying the 
causes of aberrated moral reasoning. It also identifies in what re- 
spect this kind of reasoning is "irrational" and how, in general, it 
might be remedied. 

The philosophical ramifications of this approach have only been 
hinted at in this paper; no one has yet constructed a "calculus of 
cognitive styles." Yet it appears that, from a psychological perspec- 
tive, moral reasoning can be evaluated on the attitudinal level in 
terms of good and bad cognitive structuring. The philosophical 
counterpart to this kind of analysis is, hopefully, waiting in the 


'For a recent dicussion of the task of the moral philospher: William D. 
Boyce, Larry Cyril Jensen, Moral Reasoning (Lincoln, Nebraska: U. of 
Nebraska Press, 1978), part I. 

'Sigmund Freud, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis, trans, by 
Joan Riviere (N.Y.: Pocket Books, 1953 edition), pp. 26-7. 

^cf. Donn Byrne, An Introduction to Personality (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 
Prentice-Hall, 1974), chapter two. 

■•For a psychoanalytic treatment more concerned with cognitive issues, 
cf. Irving Sarnoff, "Psychoanalytic Theory and Cognitive Dissonance" in 
Theories of Cognitive Consistency: A Sourcebook, edited by Robert P. Abel- 
son, Elliot Aronson, William J. McGuire, Theodore M. Newcomb, Milton J. 
Rosenberg, Percy H. Tannenbaum (Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1968), 
pp. 192-f. (Note: we shall hereafter refer to this volume as 'Sourcebook'}. 


^Charles Leslie Stevenson, "The Nature of Ethical Disagreement," in 
Richard Brandt, editor. Value and Obligation (N.Y.: Harcourt, Brace & 
World, 1961), p. 371. 

^Charles L. Stevenson, Ethics and Language (New Haven: Yale U. 
Press, 1944), pp. 20-36. This approach is commonly referred to as 

''Stuart Chase, "The Criteria of Semantics, "Saturday Review, Volume 
28, No. 23, (June 9, 1945), p. 17. 

^Stevenson, in Brandt, p. 373. 



"Ibid., p. 374. 

'^Ibid., p. 374. David Hume (cf. infra) makes similar statements. 

"David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, edited by L.A. Selby-Bigge, 
revised by P.H. Nidditch (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1978 edition), p. 456. 

>*Ibid., p. 457. 

'^Ibid., p. 472; cf. pp. 471, 574. 

>«Ibid., p. 496. 

^^Ibid., p. 575. 

'*David Hume, Enquiries concerning Human Understanding and con- 
cerning the Principles of Morals, edited by L.A. Selby-Bigge, revised by 
P.H. Nidditch (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1975 edition), pp. 250-267. 

^®Hume, Treatise, p. 462. 

^"Ibid., p. 458; cf. p. 463. 

2'Ibid., p. 459; cf. p. 416. 

^^Ibid., p. 462, italics mind. 

^^Ibid., p. 458. 

^''For an excellent introduction with an extensive bibliography: Boyce 
and Jenson, op.cit., part IL Also, Thomas Lickons, editor. Moral Develop- 
ment and Behavior (N.Y.: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976), and W. Kur- 
tines, and E.B. Greif, "The Development of Moral -Thought: Review and 
Evaluation of Kohlberg's Approach," Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 81 
(1974): pp. 453-470. Amongst the many works by Kohlberg, one might 
begin with "Stage and Sequence: The Cogntive-Developmental Approach 
to Socialization," in D. Goslin, editor, Handbook of Socialization Theory 
and Research (Chicago: Rand-McNally, 1969). 

^^cf. the Psychological Bulletin article cited in the previous note, and 
another: Augusto Blasi, "Bridging Moral Cognition and Moral Action: A 
Critical Review of the Literature," Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 88 (1980), 
pp. 1-f. 

^®cf. Jean Piaget, The Moral Judgement of the Child N.Y.: Harcourt, 
Brace & World, 1932). 


^^cf. Blasi, op. cit., p. 8. 

^®Kohlberg's scheme of stages, in simple form, is as follows: 
Level I — Preconventional 

Stage one — heteronomous morality 

Stage two — individualism, instrumental purpose and exchange 
Level II — Conventional 

Stage three — mutual interpersonal expections, relationships, 

Stage four — social system and conscience 
Level III — Postconventional or Principled 

Stage five — social contract or utility and individual rights 
Stage six — universal ethical principles 
(cf Lawrence Kohlberg, "Moral Stages and Moralization: The Cognitive- 
Developmental Approach," in Lickona, ed., op. cit., pp. 31-53). 

^^Blasi, op. cit., cites many favorable studies; for critical responses, cf , 
Kurtines and Greif, op. cit,; also, Jack R. Fraenkel, "The Kohlberg Band- 
wagon: Some Reservations," Social Education (April, 1976): pp. 216-222. 

^°Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, trans, by 
H.J. Paton (N.Y.: Harper Torchbooks, 1964 edition), pp. 101-2. 

^'Ibid., p. 105. 

^^Ibid., pp. 102-3. 

^^Ibid., pp. 105-6. 

^"This is in many ways an answer to the challenge of Hume, as indicated 
in this statement from the Treatise (p. 463, op. cit.): 

There has been an opinion very industriously propagated by certain 
philosophers, that morality is susceptible of demonstration; and tho' 
no one has ever been able to advance a single step in those demonst- 
rations; yet 'tis taken for granted, that this science may be brought 
to an equal certainty with geometry or algebra. Upon this supposi- 
tion, vice and virtue must consist in some relations; since 'tis allowed 
on all hands, that no matter of fact is capable of being demonstrated. 
Let us, therefore, begin with examining this hypothesis, and en- 
deavor, if possible, to fix those moral qualities which have been so 
long the objects of our fruitless researches. Point out distinctly the 
relations, which constitute morality or obligation, that we may know 
wherein they consist, and after what manner we must judge them. 

^*cf. Hume, Treatise, p. 458. 

3«Kant, pp. 119-120. 

^^Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, edited by Michael Oakeshott (N.Y.: Collier 
Books, 1962), p. 19. 

^«Ibid., p. 54. 

^nbid., pp. 80, 105. 

*°Ibid., p. 80. 

■"Ibid., p. 48. Hume makes similar statements. 

^^Ibid., pp. 48-9. 


«Ibid., cf. pp. 21, 35. 

*^Ibid., p. 59. 

«Ibid., p. 73. 

**David Gauthier, "Thomas Hobbes: Moral Theorist," Journal of 
Philosophy, Vol. 76 (October, 1979), pp. 547-8. 

"'This third "dogma" is not universally held. Utilitarians (e.g.. Mill) 
would deny it, substituting for one's own utility the "greatest happiness of 
the greatest number." 

**cf. Hillel J. Einhorn, Robin M. Hogarth, "Behavioral Decision Theory: 
Processes of Judgement and Choice," Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 32 
(1981): pp. 53-88. 

"^cf. David Krech, Richard S. Crutchfield, Theory and Problems of Social 
Psychology (N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1948), pp. 168-9. 

*°An example is the observation by Murphy, Murphy, and Newcomb in 
Experimental Social Psychology (N.Y.: Harper and Brothers, 1938 revised 
edition) pp. 1031-3: "Evidence abounds ... to suggest that the most 
freakish assortments of opinions and beliefs are commonly held by single 
individuals. The prevalence of irrational beliefs, even among those at col- 
lege levels, has more than once been amply demonstrated . . . 'Rational' 
and 'irrational ideas' may evidently be the best of bedfellows." This issue 
is discussed at some length by Jonathan L. Freedman, "How Important is 
Cognitive Consistency?" in Sourcebook, op. cit., pp. 497-503. 

**This was strongly pointed out by J.W. Brehm, A.R. Cohen, Explora- 
tions in Cognitive Dissonance (N.Y.: Wiley, 1962); cf. also David C. Glass, 
"Individual Differences and the Resolution of Cognitive Inconsistencies," 
in Sourcebook, op. cit. pp. 615-623. 

^^Gauthier, op. cit. pp. 547- fig. cf. also Arthur E. Murphy, "The Context 
of Moral Judgment," in The Uses of Reason (N.Y.: MacMillan Co., 1943), p. 

"Two excellent histories and conceptual overviews of "attitude" are: 
Thomas M. Ostram, "The Emergence of Attitude Theory: 1930-1950," in 
Psychological Foundations of Attitudes, edited by Anthony G. Greenwald, 
Timothy C. Brock, Thomas M. Ostram (N.Y.: Academic Press, 1968), pp. 1- 
32; and Melvin L. DeFleur, Frank R. Westie, "Attitude as a Scientific Con- 
cept," in Allen P. Liska, The Consistency Controversy (N.Y.: John Wiley 
and Sons, 1975), pp. 23-43. A collection of essays most important to at- 
titude theory is Martin Fishbein, ed.. Readings in Attitude Theory and 
Measurement (N.Y.: John Wiley and Sons, 1967), while a recent survey of 
current research is: Robert B. Cialdini, Richard E. Petty, John T. 
Cacioppo, "Attitude and Attitude Change," Annual Review of Psychology, 
Vol. 32 (1981): pp. 357-404. 

^"Gordon W. Allport, "Attitudes," in Handbook of Social Psychology, 
edited C. Murchison (Worcester, Mass: Clark U. Press, 1935), pp. 808-9. 

^^Daniel Katz, Ezra Stotland, "Preliminary Statement to a Theory of At- 
titudes," in S. Koch, editor. Psychology: Study of a Science, Vol. Ill (N.Y.: 
McGraw-Hill, 1959), p. 466. 

^® A number of different kinds of studies supporting this claim are discus- 
sed in M.J. Rosenberg, "An Analysis of Affective-Cognitive Consistency," 


in M.J. Rosenberg, C.I. Hovland, W.J. McGuire, R.P. Abelson, J.W. 
Brehm, Attitude Organization and Change (New Haven: Yale U. Press, 
1960), pp. 15-64. 

^^A number of excellent overviews and collections of critical essays on 
this approach to attitude theory are available. A few are: Sourcebook, op. 
cit.; R. Brown, "Models of Attitude Change," in R. Brown, E. Galanter, 
B.H. Hess, G. Mandler, editors, New Directions in Psychology (N.Y.: Holt, 
Rinehart and Winston, 1962), pp. 1-85; Shel Feldman, Cognitive Consis- 
tency; Motivational Antecedents and Behavioral Consequents (N.Y.: 
Academic Press, 1966); R. Zajonc, "Cognitive Theories of Social Behavior," 
in G. Lindzey E. Aronson, editors. Handbook of Social Psychology (Read- 
ing, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1968 edition). Vol. I, pp. 320-410. 

^^Rosenberg, "An Analysis of Affective-Cognitive Consistency," op. cit. 

^^R.P. Abelson, M.J. Rosenberg, "Symbolic Psycho-logic: A Model of At- 
titudinal Cognition," Behavioral Science, Vol. 3 (1958): pp. 1-13. 

^°M.J. Rosenberg, R.P. Abelson, "An Analysis of Cognitive Balancing," 
in Attitude Organization and Change, op. cit., pp. 112-163. 

"^The following description is generously extracted from M.J. Rosenberg, 
"Hedonism, Inauthenticity, and Other Goads Toward Expansion of a Con- 
sistency Theory," in Sourcebook, op. cit., especially pp. 79-80. 

^^This is somewhat similar to the approach to value systems taken by 
Katz and Stotland, op. cit., pp. 432-4. 

^cf. Rosenberg, "Hedonism, Inauthenticity, and Other Goads Toward 
Expansion of a Consistency Theory," in Sourcebook, p. 81. 

^his point is made strongly in Leonard Berkowitz, "The Motivational 
Status of Cognitive Consistency Theory," in Sourcebook, pp. 303-310. 

®^W.J. McGuire, "The Nature of Attitudes and Attitude Change," in 
Handbook of Social Psychology, revised edition. Vol. Ill, pp. 159-169. 
^^Katz and Stotland, op. cit., pp. 436-f. 

^^Hume makes this same point when accounting for the need for a con- 
cept of justice in the Enquiries, op. cit., pp. 183-192 (sect. Ill, pt. 2). 

^cf. R.P. Abelson, "Modes of Resolution of Belief Dilemmas," Journal of 
Conflict Resolution, Vol. 3 (1959), pp. 343-352. 

««Katz and Stotland, op. cit. p. 440. 

^McGuire, op. cit., pp. 157-8. 

^'Ibid., pp. 156-7. McGuire refers to this as an "economy" function, but 
the term seems ill-suited, as it is easily mixed up with what he calls 
"utilitarian" functions, which more closely approximate the traditional 
sense of "economic." 

'^Studies on altruism, moral development and the delay of gratification 
are discussed in Donn Byrne, An Introduction to Personality (Englewood 
Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974 edition), pp. 478-f. 

^'A number of theorists have examined the variables of self-esteem and 
ego-involvement in the judgement process; e.g., M. Sherif, H. Cantril, The 
Psychology of Ego-Involvements (N.Y.: Wiley, 1947). 


■'"'Erich Fromm, Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of 
Ethics (Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Books, 1947), pp. 70-88. 

^*0n cognitive styles: David Rapaport, "Cognitive Structures," in Con- 
temporary Approaches to Cognition (Harvard U. Press, 1957), pp. 159-f; cf. 
also Zajonc, op. cit., pp. 332-5 discusses various classifications of cognitive 
structure, but questions (335) the connection of structure-types with styles 
of functioning. 

^^Milton Rokeach, The Open and Closed Mind: Investigations into the 
Nature of Belief Systems and Personality Systems (N.Y.: Basic Books, 
1960), p. 16. 

^'An important exception to this is a belief-system characterized by the 
presence of an ideology. Ideologies are generally tightly knit, but broad 
ranging belief systems in the service of an institution or cause. Unlike the 
cluster effect we have been describing, an ideological cognitive structure 
would be characterized by widespread symmetries. However, the tendency 
to establish these symmetries on the basis of like-signedness of objects, 
rather than well-supported factual relationships places ideological think- 
ing in the same class with the kind of "close minded" thinking we have 
been discussing. 


Biblical Feminism And The New Testament: 
A Review Of Selected Literature 

by Jerry R. Flora 

"The woman question" surfaced among evangelical Christians in 
the U.S. during the 1970s. Prompted to some extent by the 
women's liberation movement, some leaders in the conservative 
wing of Protestantism took a new look at biblical teaching on the 
roles of men and women in home, church, and society. Questions of 
singleness, marriage, divorce, remarriage, headship, submission, 
and ordination would not be silenced. As usual, the situation 
tended to polarize, this time between the traditionalists and the 

Traditionalists tend to emphasize the differences between male 
and female in creation, in the church, and at home, with the female 
assuming a place of submission marked chiefly by motherhood at 
home, missionary service, music, and children in the chruch, and 
with male leadership in both places. Feminists, on the other hand, 
are by definition those who support "woman's claims to be given 
rights, opportunities, and treatment equal to those of men" {Oxford 
American Dictionary). In the church some have divided the latter 
group into Christian feminists and biblical feminists. The former 
are those having any allegiance to the Christian faith that influ- 
ences their thinking (e.g., Mary Daly, Rosemary Ruether, Dorothee 
Soelle), while biblical feminists are those who consider the Chris- 
tian Scriptures to be the divinely inspired Word of God having 
final authority in all matters of faith and practice. 

During the 1970s biblical feminists published three nationally 
noted books advancing their views: All We're Meant to Be: A Bib- 
lical Approach to Women's Liberation, by Letha Scanzoni and 
Nancy Hardesty (Word Books, 1974, 255 pp.); Man as Male and 
Female: A Study in Sexual Relationships from a Theological Point 
of View, by Paul K. Jewett (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Com- 
pany, 1975, 200 pp.); and Women, Men, and the Bible, by Virginia 
Ramey Mollenkott (Abingdon Press, 1977, 142 pp.). 

Several other volumes were published during the 1970s which 
interacted directly or indirectly with the biblical feminists. The 
purpose of this article is to offer a review of four exegetically in- 
formed works together with some methodological considerations. 


The New Testament Teaching on the Role Relationship of Men 
and Women (Baker Book House, 1977, 76 pp.) is a brief, tightly 


written exegetical treatment growing out of several items com- 
posed between 1972 and 1977. The author, George W. Knight III, 
professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary, 
holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Westminster Theologi- 
cal Seminary and earned the doctorate from the Free University of 
Amsterdam. His work shows the careful, detailed approach for 
which Reformed scholarship is justly famous. 

Sandwiched between introductory and concluding chapters are 
the book's two central sections: "Submission and Headship in Mar- 
riage" (10 pages) and "Submission and Headship in the Church" 
(24 pages). In both cases the discussion follows the same pattern: 
an exposition of the biblical evidence, then answers to objections. 
"This book focuses on the question of admitting women to the 
teaching and ruling offices and functions of the church. This is the 
issue most debated and discussed" (pp. 10-11). Knight's work was 
written in large measure as an answer to the previously published 
books by Scanzoni and Hardesty (1974) and Jewett (1975), and the 
heart of his interaction with them comes in the second half of each 
major chapter, "Objections Answered." 

Knight begins his discussion of submission and headship in mar- 
riage by treating briefly (in two pages) the biblical evidence: both 
Paul and Peter join together equality as image-bearers and differ- 
ence (masculinity-femininity) "as equally the result of God's crea- 
tive activity and order . . ." (p. 20). This leads immediately to the 
question of whether submission of wives to husbands does not also 
sanction slavery and require government by kings. Knight re- 
sponds that Scripture regulates the practice of slavery but does not 
mandate it. Paul's approach to it was similar to Jesus' view of di- 
vorce: both may exist because of the effects of sin, but neither is the 
express will of God. Nor does Scripture demand government by 
monarchs; rather, Christians are to submit to duly constituted 
human authorities so long as their directives do not contravene the 
divine will. Similarly, husbands are to be the heads of their mar- 
riages and wives are to submit to this 'authority because it is the 
creation ordinance of God. 

Knight prefaces his discussion of submission and headship in the 
church by noting that attention must be concentrated on explicit, 
didactic passages in order to prevent erroneous conclusions being 
inferred from incidental references. He treats in order "I Timothy 
2:11-15, which most clearly gives both the apostle Paul's verdict 
and his reason for that verdict; I Corinthians 11:1-16, which ex- 
plains the significance of this reason; and I Corinthians 14:33b-38, 
which presents the apostle's command and his reason for it in more 
general terms" (p. 29). 

Knight concludes from his survey of these passages that Paul 
laid down "a universally normative regulation which prohibits 


women from ruling and teaching men in the church," although all 
other avenues of ministry and service are open to them. This judg- 
ment is analogous to the creation order with its correlatives of 
headship and subjection. "To dismiss the role relationship in the 
church's teaching-ruling function as simply cultural would carry 
with it the dismissal of the analogous role relationship in marriage 
as also cultural, because they are based on the same principle. . . . 
Likewise, if one preserves the role relationship in marriage be- 
cause of the creation order, one also must preserve the role re- 
lationship in the church's teaching-ruling function, because it is 
based on that same creation order" (p. 39). 

Knight answers several objections against this line of interpreta- 
tion, especially questions of whether Paul's exegesis of Gen. 2:18- 
25 may not be incorrect, whether this exegesis does not contradict I 
Cor. 11:5 on women praying and prophesying in the church, and 
whether this approach does not have the effect of excluding 
women's gifts and service from the people of God. To all of these 
questions Knight answers no, then turns to brief considerations of 
Phoebe (Rom. 16:1-2) and Prisca (Priscilla). Both of these women 
served the church in helping capacities, but neither exercised a 
public ministry of teaching or ruling. 

Following the concluding chapter the book reprints in an appen- 
dix a statement on "Office in the New Testament (and the Ministry 
of Women)" from the Reformed Ecumenical Synod, a paper pre- 
sented in 1972 by the Advisory Committee of which Dr. Knight 
was Reporter. The work includes two indices that are detailed for 
so brief a book. 

Knight's work is admirable for its attempt to be objective in 
speaking to the issues, and at no point does he engage in criticism 
of those who adopt a different interpretation from his. It also is to 
be admired for attempting to let Scripture be the deciding forum, 
not contemporary sociology, psychology, or political theory. And it 
is to be admired for attempting to give full weight to what appear 
to be the most explicit scriptural passages on the subjects at hand. 

But therein lies the problem with his book. It seems to operate in 
a vacuum almost entirely Pauline in nature. No attention is given 
at any point to the world of the first century and how the Pauline 
directives would impact on its citizens. No attention is given to 
whether Jesus ever did or said anything that would alter that 
world's situation, however indirectly. The assumption seems to be 
that Jesus came to reaffirm the creation orders and that Paul exp- 
licates that. As to whether the end might be better than the begin- 
ning, nothing is said. And the fact that Luke, Paul's longtime com- 
panion, presents a rather different picture of women in his Gospel 
and the Acts seems to escape notice. 



Educated at Princeton University and Seminary, Union Theolog- 
ical Seminary, and Columbia University (Ph.D), Dr. Williams is on 
the faculty of Claremont (California) Men's College. Prior to that 
he served for eleven years on the staff of Hollywood Presbyterian 
Church. He produced The Apostle Paul and Women in the Church 
(Regal Books, G/L Publications, 1977, 157 pp.) after writing The 
Bond That Breaks: Will Homosexuality Split the Church? 

Williams' book is constructed in three parts: "A Survey of Con- 
temporary Views," "The Pauline Epistles," and "Conclusion." He 
states as presuppositions his belief that the letters of Paul are in- 
spired Scripture addressed to concrete historical situations and 
that, even in their problematic passages, they are consistent. 

In Part I he quickly surveys several present-day approaches: 
Fascinating Womanhood (Helen Andelin), The Total Woman 
(Marabel Morgan), The Christian Family (Larry Christenson), The 
Feminine Mystique (Betty Friedan), All We're Meant to Be (Letha 
Scanzoni and Nancy Hardesty), and Man as Male and Female (Paul 

Part II is the heart of Williams' work, constituting two-thirds of 
the book. He describes the method to be followed: "Each of Paul's 
letters will be studied in its historical context with care given to all 
references to women whether they emerge from the Old Testament, 
or early church practice, Paul's personal relationships, or his 
theological treatments" (p. 30). This gives to his work a mass of in- 
formation not usually found in such studies because there are far 
more allusions to women in Paul's epistles than many at first im- 
agine. Williams' procedure is to move through the Pauline corpus 
in canonical order from Romans to Philemon, and he finds some re- 
ference to the feminine in every document except 2 Thessalonians. 

For example, in discussing Phoebe of Cenchrea (Rom. 16:1-2) 
Williams notes that she is termed diakonos, a term Paul used also 
of himself and Apollos (I Cor. 3:5), of Tychicus (Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7), 
of Timothy (I Tim. 4:6), and of Jesus (Rom. 15:8). Williams infers 
that Phoebe undoubtedly performed ministerial functions which 
were shared by Paul and his male associates, and that divine favor 
attended her ministry for she was "a helper of many." 

Again, Christian marriage is to be a partnership between equals 
as implied in I Cor. 7:1-5 where, especially in verse 2, the apostle 
employs full symmetry of grammar and content regarding hus- 
bands and wives. This makes it possible for mutual love and self- 
giving to be expressed in marital sexuality. Further than that, "we 
must assume that this primal equality will manifest itself through- 
out the marriage relationship. Marriage here is indeed a partner- 
ship" (p. 55). 


In I Cor. 11:2-16 Paul upholds the cultural practices of veiling 
and of long hair as an expression of wives' dependence upon their 
husbands and their differences from them. Sexual differentiation 
in the created order ("in the flesh") is maintained alongside equal- 
ity in redemption ("in the Lord"). But it is the latter which is the 
final, unalterable reality. 

Gal. 3:28 articulates "Paul's radical step beyond the old order. 
Redemption does not merely restore God's intention in creation. 
Redemption brings into being a whole new world, a whole new 
order" (p. 82). The church, even though it may preserve the form of 
the old order to avoid misunderstanding, is to be obedient to the 
spirit of the new order. That is, the unity of male and female in 
Christ is to be both appreciated and demonstrated in the life of the 
church — a theme which Williams emphasizes at several places in 
his work (e.g., pp. 59, 66, 139). 

A similar outlook is to be seen in Eph. 5:21-33 for, "while Paul 
maintains the traditional hierarchical structure of the submission 
of wives to their husbands he modifies it by mutual submission and 
changes the content. Christ is the standard and model. It is the 
love of Christ and the body of Christ which are to determine the 
context and quality of marriage" (p. 92). "Christian marriage is 
egalitarian and a partnership in that husbands and wives are to 
live in mutual submission to Christ and to each other. Wives ex- 
press their submission by surrendering themselves to the love of 
Christ given them through their husbands. Husbands express their 
submission by loving their wives as Christ loves the church and 
gave Himself for her" (p. 92). 

In discussing Euodia and Syntyche (Phil. 4:2-3), Williams ob- 
serves that Paul uses the strongest possible terms of commenda- 
tion. The two women had labored side by side with him (or fought 
beside him) "in the gospel." That is, they had shared a common 
task, not serving under the apostle nor behind or below him, but 
alongside him. In fact, it was their very position in ministry with 
the apostle that made them capable of destroying the unity of the 
Philippians. Further, Paul identified them not only with himself 
but also with another male, Clement, and "the rest of my fellow 
workers." Co-worker was a term used of Prisca in Rom. 16:3, as 
well as of Euodia and Syntyche here. Paul elsewhere applies the 
term to male associates such as Aquila, Urbanus, Timothy, Mark, 
Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, and Epaphroditus. 

Williams understands the obscure reference in I Tim. 2:15 to 
point to the birth of the Messiah through woman, erasing the prior- 
ity of Eve in being deceived (I Tim. 2:13-14). "Thus as the Savior 
comes from a woman, she and all women are united corporately to 
Eve in redemption. Thus all women participate in bearing the Mes- 
siah" (p. 113). From this passage Williams infers that, once the 


abuses addressed in the pastoral epistles had been corrected, the 
time would come for women to engage in the teaching task of the 
church. "Can she who bears the Messiah be prohibited from teach- 
ing His gospel?" (p. 114). 

Part III of the book embraces the following sections: "Women's 
Place in God's Work," "Women's Identity" (to be found, as for men, 
in Christ), "Paul's Use of Women's Identity," "Women in God's 
Hierarchy," and "Women in Partnership" (or, better, "familyhood," 
both theological, marital, and ministerial). The work concludes 
with an eloquent plea for the church to divest itself of male pre- 
sumption which discriminates against women in ministerial func- 

The strength of Williams' treatment lies in its semi-popular na- 
ture which keeps documentation to a scant minimum but neverthe- 
less shows evidence of research in the standard exegetical litera- 
ture. The study of all references to women in all the Pauline corpus 
must also be listed as a strength of his work. The allusions prove to 
be more numerous than some might suppose, certain of the more 
incidental ones proving to be quite important (e.g., Rom. 16:1-2; I 
Cor. 7:1-5; Phil. 4:2-3, as described above). 

The author's decision to continue using the term "hierarchy" 
may prove to be a weakness in light of his strong egalitarian em- 
phasis. The Pauline hierarchical teaching as Williams interprets it 
is soteriological (salvation, servanthood, mutual submission) 
rather than ontological. Recognition of Christ's headship and 
lordship are not in the created structure of things but are the re- 
sult of his triumph in saving activity. Thus human obedience in 
submission, while appearing to retain traditional forms, actually is 
infused with a radically new content, the life-quality of self-giving 
love. All this is at times difficult to follow in the author's discus- 
sion but, as he aptly observes, "Redemption does not merely restore 
God's intention in creation. Redemption brings into being a whole 
new world, a whole new order" (p. 82). Williams is to be com- 
mended for insisting that, if this is truly the church's experience, 
then it must model and demonstrate this in its structures, func- 
tions, and ministries. 


Dr. Frank Stagg, Senior Professor of New Testament at The 
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary together with his wife Eve- 
lyn researched and wrote Woman in the World of Jesus (Westmins- 
ter Press, 1978, 292 pp.). Evelyn Stagg completed three years' 
training in Greek and, with the exception of Hebrew, finished all 
course work for the Th.M. degree. Frank Stagg holds the doctorate 


from Southern Baptist Seminary, has done post-doctoral study at 
the universities of Edinburgh, Basel, and Tubingen, and is the au- 
thor of New Testament Theology (1962), Polarities of Man's Exis- 
tence in Biblical Perspective (1973), and commentaries on Acts 
(1955) and Philippians (1971). 

The book the Staggs produced is divided into three nearly equal 
parts: "The World into Which Jesus Came," "Jesus and Woman," 
and "The Early Church and Woman." Part I examines the Jewish, 
Greek, and Roman environments, devoting a major chapter to 
each. The authors are careful to show that the Jewish literary 
world included not only the Old Testament but also the apocrypha 
and pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the writings of Philo 
and Josephus, and the Mishnah — all of them reflecting the roles of 

In discussing women in the Greek world the authors describe the 
literature from the ninth to the fifth centuries B.C., then the Greek 
drama, and they conclude by surveying Greek writers from the 
fifth to the third centuries, especially Plato and Aristotle. Their de- 
scription of the Roman world begins with the playwrights Plautus 
and Terence, continues through Cicero, Catullus, Tibullus, and 
Propertius, and concludes with Virgil and Ovid. 

Only after devoting nearly one hundred pages to this environ- 
mental survey are the Staggs ready to turn to Part II, "Jesus and 
Woman." Here, contrary to the expectations of some, they do not at 
first examine passages that may contain Jesus' teachings about 
male-female relationships. Instead, the authors wisely devote a 
chapter to "The Manner of Jesus" in which they amass considera- 
ble material reflecting the attitude Jesus demonstrated toward 
women as it can be reconstructed from the Gospel narratives. "The 
'criterion of discontinuity,' his striking dissimilarity to both Jewish 
and early Christian piety, encourages this confidence" (p. 102). 

Against this detailed backdrop they are then ready to portray 
"The Teaching of Jesus," which they see as not directed so much at 
women's liberation as toward human liberation. "Personhood and 
faith/obedience to God are primary and sufficient" (p. 139). As a 
function of this, Jesus' approach to women was remarkably open, 
and there is no indication that he ever denigrated woman as 
woman. In this he was radically different from the world into 
which he came. 

The Staggs devote a chapter to "The Risen Christ and Woman," 
asserting, "The most significant affirmation of woman in the New 
Testament may well be found in the tradition made prominent in 
all four Gospels that women were the ones to find the tomb of Jesus 
empty; that according to Mark and Luke the announcement of 
Jesus' resurrection was first made to women; and according to 
Matthew and John, Jesus actually appeared first to women (in 


John to Mary Magdalene alone); and that according to all four Gos- 
pels women were commissioned to inform Peter and the other apos- 
tles as to the most fundamental tenet of the Christian faith, that 
Jesus is not dead but risen!" (p. 144). They observe that, while the 
church's public tradition as exemplified in the kerygma did not 
utilize this material, "the empty tomb tradition lives on because it 
was so early, so deeply embedded, and so widely known that it 
could not be ignored by the Grospels . . . ." (p. 159). 

Part III, "The Early Church and Woman," contains four chap- 
ters, the first of which concerns "Paul and Woman." Noting that 
the apostle was a follower of Jesus and, like all followers, fell short 
of the one being followed, the authors at the outset ask for Paul to 
be judged by the direction in which he was moving, not solely by 
the point of his progress. They consider in turn Paul's vision as set 
out in Gal. 3:28; his implementation of that vision in I Thes., I 
Cor., Rom., and Phil.; and his treatment of ordination and minis- 
try, the basic criterion for which is possessing the requisite 
spiritual gifts. 

Paul apparently was at the center of the early church's struggle 
between freedom and order, legalism and license. At times he "did 
not have the luxury of setting forth an ideal; he was hard pressed 
to bring some order out of near chaos" (pp. 168f.). To meet this need 
the church developed the Haustafeln, the tables of household duties 
reflected in the epistles beginning about AD. 60. The Staggs turn 
to this subject in their chapter "The Domestic Code and Woman." 
Here they examine Col. 3:18-4:1; Eph. 5:22-6:9; I Pet. 2:13-3:7; 
Tit. 2:1-10; and I Tim. in light of the threat of moral permissive- 
ness and the danger to structures within and outside the church. 

The closing chapters, "Woman in the Synoptic Gospels and Acts" 
and "Woman in the Johannine Writings," attempt to explore the 
theology of the Evangelists writing in the period following the 
struggles of Paul. The authors state, "... a major interest for us is 
the greater freedom accorded woman in the Gospels than in the 
epistles. The Gospels know nothing of the rules and regulations im- 
posed upon women in I Corinthians and in the letters containing 
the Domestic Code. If the Gospels were written after the epistles, 
the pattern calls for explanation" (p. 205). The Staggs are per- 
suaded that the Gospels accurately reflect Jesus' free, open attitude 
toward women and that the Gospel writers agreed with this. While 
Acts appears to be more male-oriented than the Gospel according 
to Luke, there is no denigration of woman in it. They conclude that 
the Evangelists seem to be comfortable with Jesus' perspective and 
that either our dating of the N.T. documents is out of order or Acts 
reveals that the Pauline restrictions were not applied in all the 
churches outside his mission field. The picture holds true also for 


the Johannine corpus, although the male orientation in language 
continues to be strong there. 

This carefully researched work demonstrates the kind of patient, 
detailed study that must go into any proper resolution of today's is- 
sues in light of Scripture. Especially commendable is the determi- 
nation to present all evidence, secular or scriptural, in what may 
be its chronological order, thus avoiding the trap of placing favorite 
texts first or last for emphasis. The Staggs have taken pains to set 
out the context in which first Jesus and then his early followers 
worked. Some readers may become impatient with what appears to 
be overlapping in the book's organization (e.g., some passages are 
discussed under both "The Manner of Jesus" and "Woman in the 
Synoptic Gospels and Acts"), but the proper separation between 
Jesus and the Evangelists remains one of the most delicate ques- 
tions in N.T. studies. Some readers may demur at the authors' ac- 
ceptance of the documentary hypothesis of Pentateuchal sources 
(Gen. 1, 2), but much of their argument could proceed from the text 
without the theory. 

The Staggs also have tried to explain the varying voices heard 
within the N.T. documents, concluding that the gospel of grace 
proved to be too much for some persons in certain situations. Some 
readers, however, may disagree with their description of the diver- 
sity, especially when they conclude that Paul, unable to implement 
the vision of freedom that he inherited from his Lord, chose to im- 
pose restrictions in some congregations in order to preserve order. 
His restrictions, possibly meant to be only temporary and local, 
came to be the rule in the developing church beyond the N.T., 
which in turn led to the male-dominated community it has been 
until today. Although the authors do not interact at all with the 
biblical feminists (none of whom are cited in the volume), the pa- 
tient, scholarly research demonstrated here can be a model in fu- 
ture discussions. 

SUSAN T. FOH (1979) 

Women and the Word of God: A Response to Biblical Feminism 
(Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1979, 270 pp.) 
comes from the pen of Susan T. Foh, who was educated at Welles- 
ley College (B.A.) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A.R.). 
A housewife and shopkeeper, Foh has published several scholarly 
articles prior to release of this volume. Her work shows admirable 
qualities of attempting to build a biblical theology through use of 
primary and secondary literatures, including employment of the 
ancient languages. 

The book contains ten chapters, several of them more extensive 
than the remainder. Chapters I and II deal with the nature, au- 


thority, and interpretation of Scripture, especially in light of the 
approach of the biblical feminists. The major discussion is to be 
found in Chapters III, IV, and VIII, dealing with "What the Old 
Testament Says about Women," "What the New Testament Says 
about Women," and "Marriage: Submission and Love." In her ex- 
tensive discussion of woman in the O.T. Foh concludes that men 
and women are equally in the image of God by creation (Gen. 1) 
but that the male's temporal priority in Gen. 2 signals his func- 
tional authority over his wife in marriage. The woman is a helper 
not inferior to the man, but corresponding to him in dignity and 
status. Thus, throughout the O.T., mothers as well as fathers 
named their children and both parents were to be obeyed and hon- 

When she moves to the N.T., Foh observes at the outset, "There 
is only one area where most students of the New Testament agree 
regarding women: Jesus treated women as they should be treated. . 
. . There is no doubt that Jesus' treatment of women was a radical 
break with the status quo" (p. 90). She concludes from Jesus' be- 
havior toward women that he desired them to learn from him and 
expected them to witness to him. 

The form this would take was spelled out in the early church by 
Paul. His specific directions and their theological foundation are 
the key to understanding the historical descriptions found in the 
Gospels and the Acts. Foh notes, however, "This key does not elimi- 
nate all problems. Almost every passage that directly addresses 
women has a cryptic reference (such as 'because of the angels' in I 
Cor. 11:10) or technical ambiguities (such as the referent of women 
in I Tim. 3:11). Another problem is alleged contradictions among 
these passages (I Cor. 11:5, 13 versus I Cor. 14:34-35; Gal. 3:28 ver- 
sus I Tim. 2:11-15)" (p. 98). 

She proceeds to study Paul's commands to women, devoting 
major attention to I Cor. 11:2-16 (17 pages), I Cor. 14:34-35 (5 
pages), I Tim. 2:8-15 (7 pages), "Marriage" (i.e., Eph. 5:21-33, 11 
pages), and Gal. 3:28 (3 pages). Her conclusion is that three biblical 
principles are established in Gen. 1-2, undergirded by O.T. legisla- 
tion, assumed by Jesus, and explained by Paul: (1) Men and women 
are equally in the image of God (ontological equality). (2) Wives 
are to submit themselves to their husbands, and women are not to 
teach or exercise authority over men in the church (economic or 
functional subordination). These two principles, one of the an- 
tinomies of Scripture, are held together and the tension between 
them eased by a third principle: (3) Husband and wife are one 
flesh, and believers are one body in Christ. This union in church 
and home is founded upon agape-love. 

In the second half of her book Foh seems to work out some of the 
unanswered questions that have arisen and develops some implica- 


tions of her interpretation. She argues, for example, that God is 
neither male nor female but God-language is masculine because it 
points ultimately to Jesus Christ. Also, "It is the husband's head- 
ship and the wife's submission that makes it necessary to address 
God as Father, not Mother" (p. 153). "God created the man first 
and intended the man to be the head of his wife and men to be 
rulers of the church; these two facts are coordinated" (p. 171). The 
functional distinction between husband and wife in marriage may 
be intended to reflect the relationship that God has with his people, 
a sacredly intimate union marked by submission on one side and 
self-giving love on the other (pp. 178f.). 

But Fob's understanding of how this works holds a few surprises 
for those who think she is nothing more than a typical 
traditionalist. In her third lengthy chapter (VI. "Marriage: Submis- 
sion and Love," 41 pages) she not only continues her dialogue with 
the biblical feminists but also reveals her disagreement with cer- 
tain ideas of such well-known traditionalists as Larry Christenson, 
Elizabeth Elliott, and Marabel Morgan. Marriage as Foh sees it is 
neither dictatorship nor democracy but a one-flesh relationship 
modeled on that between Christ and his church. In this union sub- 
mission and obedience are not identical; the former is "an attitude, 
a quiet and gentle spirit" expected of the wife. "If a wife must dis- 
obey her husband for Christ's sake, she can do it with submission" 
(p. 185). 

Neither are submission and love identical, for the latter is the 
functional activity of the husband. Agape-love is commanded and 
therefore it is an activity subject to the will. A husband is to love 
his wife not because he is head of the wife but because the two are 
one flesh. Both partners have equal access to God so that the hus- 
band is not his wife's priest. If a man or woman is unwilling to 
enter such a relationship, says Foh, let him or her remain unmar- 
ried, singly devoted to the Lord. This is a special gift. "The single 
person is not to be pitied but respected. To be single is best. And it 
is time the church realized this fact in word and deed" (p. 220). 

In a final chapter Foh discusses "Women and the Church." The 
major question, as she sees it, is not whether to ordain women; 
rather, "What ordination means is a more basic question. The bib- 
lical picture is not well-defined" (p. 232). Ordination conveys 
neither grace nor authority but only recognizes the gifts that God 
has bestowed for ministry. Foh asserts that there is only one valid 
reason against women's ordination: Scripture forbids it (I Tim. 
2:12). Women in the church are not to teach men or rule over them 
because this violates the creation order (Gen. 2). The diaconal 
ministry, in her opinion, does not involve either teaching or ruling 
and therefore women may be ordained as deacons (contra Knight). 
Similar reasoning opens to them all kinds of administrative posi- 


tions but closes the door to being evangelists. "The church not only 
wastes the gifts of women; it wastes the gifts of the laity as a 
whole, and it often misues the gifts of the clergy" (p. 258). 

Fob's work is a commendable piece of exegesis, at times discur- 
sive in manner, but always well informed and closely reasoned. 
The volume might be improved by giving more attention to organi- 
zation, tightening up the writing style, and including an index (a 
serious loss in a work of this size and detail). It is indeed "A Re- 
sponse to Biblical Feminism," but it is not a rehash of the 
traditionalist position. One can get the impression at points that 
Foh could wish the feminist case to be correct, but Scripture and 
that alone compels her to the stance she has adopted, within which 
she finds more freedom than many have allowed. 

Her exegesis is valuable, but a work entitled Women and the 
Word of God should give more than passing attention to the men- 
tion of women outside of legislative passages. For example, in her 
treatment of women in the early church, there is very slim discus- 
sion of references to women apart from the commands given about 
their conduct. There is no substantive discussion of Jesus' handling 
of the divorce question and what that might imply or of Paul's dis- 
cussion in I Cor. 7 — in both of which considerable mutuality lies 
unexpressed in so many words. Foh falls into the same pit as the 
feminists with whom she disagrees: "They designate certain pas- 
sages to be the norm by which other passages are to be judged ..." 
(p. 27). Her emphasis on equality before God is to be applauded, 
but the pervasive subordinationism based on Gen. 2 is in danger of 
overpowering it. That is, because so much attention is given to cer- 
tain scriptural passages, the antinomy which she claims to find in 
Scripture becomes lopsided and is no longer an antinomy. 


The question of roles and relationships as set out in Scripture is 
a highly complex one. Simple prooftexting at any point in the spec- 
trum of opinion will no longer suffice; a larger rationale is called 
for. Susan Fob's use of the categories antinomy and tension is help- 
ful, for it reminds us that here (as in other controverted territories) 
the exegete is sometimes faced with a both-and rather than an 
either-or. Radical positions at either extreme insist on a dichoto- 
mous approach while the broader vision of those in the middle may 
recognize the need for a both-and but not be able to articulate that 
position so clearly. Several elements in the present picture may be 
briefly delineated. 

(1) Gen. 1 and 2. The two creation narratives are not in competi- 
tion with each other but are complementary. It may be that, as 


they appear in the text, the first is intended to set out the main 
theme (equality or mutuality) while the second describes more pro- 
saic details. The heavy use of the latter by Paul in his "letters to 
young [and troubled] churches" must not obscure the fact that, ac- 
cording to the Gospel accounts, Jesus based his concept of marriage 
on Gen. 1, adding only the final comment from Gen. 2:24 (Mk. 10:2- 
12 and parallels). It is easy to see how feminists emphasize Gen. 1 
while traditionalists stress Gen. 2. 

(2) Creation and redemption. A related question is whether the 
purpose of redemption is to restore the Edenic situation or to offer 
something beyond. In other words, is Gen. 1-2 meant to be the first 
word in the story or the final word? It is reported that Jesus said, 
"The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those 
who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrec- 
tion from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for 
they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are 
sons of God, being sons of the resurrection" (Lk. 20:34-36). If Chris- 
tians are to some extent participating in the age to come even now 
because of Jesus' triumph in redemption, what does that mean for 
the standards of their continuing life in this age? 

(3) Jesus and Paul. The agent of this redemption was Jesus the 
Galilean Jew who, just because he was a Galilean, was theologi- 
cally suspect in certain powerful Jerusalem circles. And, as is fre- 
quently noted in the literature on the question, Jesus' openness to- 
ward members of the opposite sex was without parallel or antece- 
dent in Judaism. As Foh aptly remarks, he knew how to treat a 
lady. It is no wonder that the feminist position finds in this 
"layman" its chief advocate and defender. Paul, on the other hand, 
while affirming women at various points in his correspondence, 
also laid down strictures on their behavior and function in the 
first-century ekklesiai. Because his instructions were specific it is 
easy to focus on them, virtually ignoring whatever Jesus may have 
said or done about the question. While personalities and situations 
reveal diversity, we must assume that those who formed the N.T. 
canon saw unity between the apostle and the one whom he called 
Lord. It will not do to set one against the other or to elevate the 
servant over his master. 

(4) Direction and indirection. Part of the apparent difference be- 
tween Jesus and Paul may be attributed to their respective 
methods of teaching, as much as they can be reconstructed from 
the available data. It appears that Jesus taught at times by indi- 
rection. He created parables which demanded a response from his 
hearers. Or he conducted himself in a manner unusual for his time 
and place, raising questions in the minds of those who observed 
him; afterward he engaged in verbal instruction, thus employing 
an approach that was a sophisticated show-and-tell method. Paul, 


on the other hand, was primarily a church planter and mission pas- 
tor. His manner was often direct, looking for an opening in which 
to insert his gospel wedge. His correspondence was weighty and 
persuasive, though at times hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:15-16), 
but his personal bearing was not always what his readers expected 
(2 Cor. 10:9-10). It is easy to fasten on his direct statements about 
the conduct of women in his first-century mission congregations. It 
is more difficult to infer what Jesus' intentions for women were, al- 
though it is, if anything, even more important to try. In the final 
analysis, Jesus' indirection and Paul's directions ought to come out 
at the same place if Scripture possesses an underlying unified bib- 
lical theology. 

(5) Ontology and economy. In all of this it is frequently claimed 
that men and women are ontologically equal but functionally dis- 
tinct beyond reproduction. Appeal is sometimes made to the anal- 
ogy with the holy trinity in which there are three who are equal in 
being and nature but function differently from one another in the 
economy of redemption. This is especially true of the second person 
of the godhead who for us and for our salvation became incarnate 
by the Holy Spirit and was subject both to his earthly parents and 
to the heavenly Father. How are the mutual dignity, voluntary 
submission, and self-giving love expected of humans to be related 
to the persons and working of the divine trinity as revealed in 
Scripture? None of the works reviewed here addresses this area in 
sufficient depth, and until this is adequately done the large differ- 
ences in interpreting the biblical materials will continue. We need 
a full-scale biblical theology of human personhood as created, re- 
deemed, and related. 


Guidelines For Sunday School Evaluation 

by Richard E. Allison 

Evaluation is asking the question, "Is God well served by what 
we are doing?"^ 

Usually this is asked either in a formative or a summative way. 
The former sees evaluation as integral to the process. The latter 
sees it as independent from the process and determines how effec- 
tive something has been after it has been completed. It is judgmen- 
tal in intent and raises defenses and closes down relationships. The 
formative method focuses on describing what is and, therefore, has 
the possibility of opening up joint exploration and sharing. It keeps 
us moving. 

Formative evaluation declares that the participant is the prim- 
ary source of information. It requires the thought forms of the par- 
ticipants. It avoids putting words in their mouths. Pre-e valuation 
is often employed to determine the categories. The problem one 
must contend with in formative evaluation is the tendency for re- 
spondents to be overly affirming. 

In the Sunday school it is usually too threatening to evaluate 
persons who are volunteers. There are some exceptions to this as 
when they assist in design, develop ownership and in a sense re- 
quest it. 

Formative evaluation is continuous or at least a part of the loop. 
It is not something which is done at the conclusion. It serves to sur- 
face needs and/or to give new direction. 

What follows is an experience in formative evaluation for the 
Sunday school to be completed by the nurture commission or Chris- 
tian eduation committee of the congregation. It consists of five 
parts derived from church growth literature and covers the follow- 
ing areas. 

1. Leadership 

2. Planning 

3. Personnel 

4. Focus 

5. Outreach 

Pastoral Leadership^ 

The pastor is the key person for growth in the local church. This 
does not mean that a pastor can make a church grow. A pastor 
must have the vision and earn the right to lead and the congrega- 
tion must be willing to support him. Together they can accomplish 
great things. 


1-1 Describe the leadership style of the pastor. 

1-2 List ways the pastor supports the work of the Sunday school.* 

1-3 How can the relationship between the pastor and the Sunday 
school be improved? 

Adequate Planning 

The first requirement for adequate planning is to know what you 
want to accomplish. To identify your purpose for Sunday school 
will be your most difficult and most important task. Next comes 
the establishment of goals. Goals help us to: 

1. Look forward 

2. Work together 

3. Measure progress 

4. Celebrate accomplishments 

2-1 Identify your Sunday school audience and list their needs and 

2-2 What is it that you want to accomplish in Sunday school?^ 


2-3 What learning settings do you provide to accomplish these 

2-4 How do you evaluate the quality of your learning experiences? 

2-5 What percent of the total church budget goes for Sunday 

Caring Personnel ' 

Just as the planning for a growing Sunday school is dependent 
upon pastoral leadership so the implementing of the plan is depen- 
dent upon a mobilized laity. 

3-1 What are the positions of leadership in your Sunday School? 
Planning Administering Teaching 

3-2 How are leadership needs identified? 


3-3 Describe the process for selecting and recruiting educational 
leadership for your congregation.® 

3-4 What type of training is provided for these persons?^ 

3-5 How are they supported and encouraged in their respective 

3-6 How does the congregation express its appreciation to the staff 
and celebrate their service? 

3-7 How adequate are your present procedures? 

Learner Focus 

Learner focus means that our primary concern is people. Trans- 
formation is the goal. (Luke 6:40) 


4-1 How are persons helped to grow as Christians in their relation 
The world 

4-2 What educational materials are used in the Sunday School? 

4-3 What theory of learning do you practice? 

4-4 How do you identify the learning needs of persons in your Sun- 
day school? 

4-5 What facilities and equipment are available?" 

4-6 How is your Sunday school supportive of Christian family life? 


4-7 How do you develop an appreciation for your own Christian 

Planned Outreach 

Sunday school has declined in nearly all denominations in the 
decade of the seventies. Forty million persons were enrolled in 
Sunday school in 1970. In the next decade, enrollment dropped to 
31.5 million. This is a twenty four per cent decadal decline. Over 
half of U.S. denominations reported church membership growth in 
the decade of the seventies. Only nine registered any growth in 
their Sunday school for the same period. ^^ 

5-1 How has the attendance of your Sunday school increased or 
declined in the decade of the seventies? 

5-2 After charting on a line graph your Sunday school and worship 
attendance for 1970-1980, identify any sharp changes in atten- 
dance and determine the reasons for these changes. ^^ 

5-3 Determine how the members of your committee were led to 
attend Sunday school. ^^ 


5-4 What is your plan for locating and reaching prospective mem- 
bers for your Sunday school?^^ 

5-5 How do you contact visitors and follow-up absentees? 

5-6 What is your plan for assimilating new persons?^® 

5-7 What new learning settings have you initiated in the past j 




6-1 At what points is your Sunday school strong? 

6-2 What are the weaknesses of your Sunday school? 


6-3 What do you want to change? 

6-4 What do you plan to accomplish in one year? 

6-5 What do you plan to accomplish in five years? 

6-6 What is your Sunday school membership goal for this decade? 


^Richard G. Hutcheson, Jr., Wheel Within The Wheel: Confronting The 
Management Crisis Of The Pluralistic Church, (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 
1979), p. 205. 

^C. Peter Wagner, Your Church Can Grow, (Glendale, CA: Regal Books, 
1976), p. 55. 

^This can be ascertained by employing any one of several instruments 
such as: 

a. "Style of Leadership Questionnaire," available from Fuller 
Evangelistic Association, P.O. Box 989, Pasadena, CA 91102 

b. "Personal Profile System", available from Fuller Evangelistic 

c. "Style of Leadership Questionnaire", from the March 1976 
issue of Faith At Work. 

d. "Choosing Your Leadership Style", found in the book Organi- 
zation And Leadership In the Local Church by Kenneth K. 
Kilinski and Jerry C. Wofford, pp. 69-78. 

^Judy Meyers, ed.. Process 80. (Evanston, IL: Board Of Christian Educa- 
tion Baptist General Conference, 1979), pp. 22, 24. 


^Consult Appendix A for a form to use. 

^Consult Appendix B for a form to use. 

^Meyers, pp. 43-54. 

^Lowell E. Brown, Sunday School Standards, (Ventura, CA: Gospel 
Light Publications, 1980), p. 29. 

^Ibid., pp. 16, 106, 109. 

•"Ibid., p. 23. 

"Ibid., p. 25. 

^^Charles Arn, Donald McGavran, Win Arn, Growth: A New Vison For 
The Sunday School, (Pasadena, CA: Church Growth Press, 1980), p. 29. 

"Consult Appendix C for a form to use. 

"Am, McGavran, Am, p. 70. 

'^"Community Analysis" is available from Fuller Evangelistic Associa- 

'®Am, McGavran, Arn, pp. 94-114. 


Appendix A 

A goal is a statement of results to be achieved. It consists of the 

1. An action verb. 

2. A single, measurable, key result. 

3. A date or time period within which the result is to be 

4. A maximum investment (time/money). 

Components Of An Objective 



By When? 

To What Extent? 


Appendix B 

Basic Ongoing Beisic Occasional Elective Ongoing Elective Occasional 












Appendix C 

19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 


A Solemn One Way Trip Becomes A Joyous 


A Study of the Structure of Luke 24:13-35 

by Dr. O. Kenneth Walther 

Luke's distinctive literary style and his fascinating treatment of 
theological themes in both his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles 
have been recognized and widely discussed by commentators and 
Lukan specialists. Anyone who is interested in pursuing the re- 
surgence of scholarly concern for aspects of Lukan artistry could do 
not better than start with Studies in Luke-Acts edited by Leander 
E. Keck and J. Louis Martyn. Among the score of contributors of 
essays in this volume is Ernst Haenchen, who later completed his 
own commentary on Acts. Haenchen refers to Luke's "biblical 
style. "^ He declares that Luke writes history by relating short, im- 
pressive, and dramatic scenes in relatively independent succession 
using words and phrases of the Septuagint. He further suggests 
that Luke's literary intention is directed toward captivating and 
edifying the reader by joining these short, compact, and pictur- 
esque scenes together like the stones of a mosaic. 

Chapter 24 of Luke's Gospel is a great mosaic of these very pic- 
turesque and impressive incidents of the wonder, grandeur, and 
mystery associated with Easter. The reader is irresistibly drawn to 
identify with the perplexed and terrified women at the tomb, the 
despondent travellers on the road to Emmaus, and the 
dumbfounded disciples in Jerusalem. In the center of this final 
chapter of his Gospel, Luke's three-part artistic story of the journey 
of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, Jesus' homily on the 
meaning of Scripture, and his breaking of bread capture the spot- 
light. Many familiar Lukan touches vividly underscore and add a 
lasting aura to the remembrance of the first day of resurrection. 

On the Road to Emmaus 

'^Now that same day two of them were going to a village called 
Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. '''They were talking 
with each other about everything that had happened. '^As they 
talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself 
came up and walked along with them; "'but they were kept from 
. recognizing him. 

'^He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you 
walk along?" 

They stood still, their faces downcast. '*One of them, named 
Cleopas, asked him, "Are you the only one living in Jerusalem 


who doesn't know the things that have happened there in these 

i^"What things?" he asked. 

"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, 
powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. ^°The 
chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to 
death, and they crucified him; ^'but we had hoped that he was the 
tone who was going to redeem Isarel. And what is more, it is the 
third day since all this took place. ^^In addition, some of our 
women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 
^^but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had 
seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. ^''Then some of our 
companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had 
said, but him they did not see." 

^^He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart 
to believe all that the prophets have spoken! ^*Did not the Christ 
have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" ^^And begin- 
ning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what 
was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 

^®As they approached the village to which they were going, 
Jesus acted as if he were going farther. ^^But they urged him 
strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost 
over." So he went in to stay with them. 

^"When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave 
thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. ^Then their eyes 
were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from 
their sight. ^^They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burn- 
ing within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the 
Scriptures to us?" 

''They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they 
found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together '"and 
saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to 
Simon." '^Then the two told what had happened on the way, and 
how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. ^ 

John Drury comments on this passage: 

Here is one of Luke's best and most characteristic achievements, a 
short story whose spell-binding power comes about by a controlled 
line, a sober realism and a muted sense of wonder. It is his last 
great set piece, bringing together most of the themes he has hand- 
led throughout the work, yet with such skill that nothing strains 
or spoils the tale. Everj^thing happens within it. That is t5T>ical of 
Luke, and so is the conjunction of ordinariness and marvel at the 
climax of the narrative, which so appealed to Rembrandt, the 
most Lukan of painters. The only things like it in the New Testa- 
ment are the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan and the Christ- 
mas stories — all Luke's.' 

Many of Luke's stylistic traits and favorite themes are found 
within this story. They include: precision in giving the distance 


from Jerusalem to Emmaus and the naming of an individual; a 
journey motif to and from Jerusalem; two figures engaged in 
dialog; the setting of discussion and fellowship at the table with 
the breaking of bread; and the contrast of moods from uncertainty 
to joy. I. Howard Marshall, one who has devoted special attention 
to Luke's historical and theological emphases, has shown that 
these familiar characteristics are part of Luke's literary style, and 
far from obscuring the essential historicity, they may serve to en- 
hance and to inscribe the events being recalled indelibly in the 
minds of the readers/. 

Some questions inevitably arise, however, for the casual reader 
as well as for the seasoned exegete. Is it possible to grasp the essen- 
tial message of this passage and the threefold division of the action 
of the story without knowledge and appreciation of a distinctive 
Lukan perspective? Do Luke's style and conscious choice of inter- 
mingled and repeated theological motifs add or detract? As pieces 
of a brilliant mosaic or the warp and woof of an intricately woven 
oriental carpet, can we dislodge the separate stone pieces or un- 
ravel the threads of the story in order to study and reflect upon 
Luke's essential craftsmanship? And, if we are bold enough to set 
our hand at doing so, will we destroy or distort his work, or will we 
be able to discover and display a renewed appreciation for Luke's 

One exegete who has especially p'ursued the nature and 
technique of Luke's storytelling and who has affirmed the stylistic 
precision and literary quality of Luke is Kenneth Bailey. In his 
work Poet and Peasant he submits a series of Lukan parables to 
what he terms "Oriental Exegesis."^ His procedure includes exa- 
mining what contemporary peasants in the Middle East have to 
say about the meaning of various parables, comparing the early 
versions and translations for insight into the nature and value of 
textual variants, and reflecting on the literary milieu of the New 
Testament period and the genre of literature current outside the 
New Testament books. 

Bailey has pointed out convincingly in his anaylsis of selected 
parables in Luke that it is precisely in those sections where Luke 
has no parallel in the other evangelists that we may be able to 
identify a conscious literary pattern or structure despite the ap- 
pearance of recognized Lukan trademarks and touches which often 
serve to embellish the basic pattern. Bailey's study of the Good 
Samaritan and the Prodigal Son offers evidence of a poetic form of 
storytelling known as the "Parabolic Ballad."^ The structure of 
each of these parables is inverted parallelism or an ABCDBCA 
type pattern. The climatic center receives the major focus with an 
ordered set of elements leading up to the main point and a similar 


set of points moving back in a balanced arrangement. He repre- 
sents the story of the Good Samaritan as an ABCDCBA inverted 
parallelism as follows: 

A. The Robbers 
B. The Priest 
C. The Levite 

D. The Samaritan 
C. He goes to him and binds up his wounds 
B. He puts him on his own beast and carries him to the inn 
A. He cares for him and promised to return 

Another feature of this parable is the comparison between the first 
and last stanza: 


1. took his money 

2. beat him 

3. left him half dead (and will not return) 


1. spent his own money 

2. cared for him 

3. left him cared for and promised to return 

The story of the Good Samaritan fits Bailey's description of the 
"Parabolic Ballad" and appears to suit the needs of the storyteller. 
There is a climatic center or turning point. This provides a means 
of establishing contrast and special emphasis. The second part calls 
for the listener to reflect and respond with an appropriate attitude 
and action such as is portrayed in the parable. Words, phrases, and 
sentence structure can be matched and contrasted in the two 

In chapter 15 of Luke's Gospel the threefold emphasis on "lost 
and found" in the three parables recorded there offers striking evi- 
dence of a recognized and repeated pattern with the usual Lukan 
variations. Perhaps the following diagram will serve to illustrate 
the basic stairstep structure of these "Parabolic Ballads." 


THE LOST SHEEP 15:1-7 "One out of Ninety-Nine" 



Restoration "back home" 

THE LOST COIN 15:8-10 "One out of Ten" 


Joy in Celebration "with friends" 


THE LOST SON 15:11-32 "One of Two Sons or Two Sons of One 

A Son is Lost 
Goods Wasted 
Everything Lost 
The Great Sin 
Total Rejection 
A Change of Mind 
And Initial Repentance 
Total Acceptance 
The Great Repentance 
Everything Regained 
Goods Used in Celebration 
A Son is Found 

The Sequence dealing with the second son is equally as balanced 
and intriguing in that Bailey's structure leaves the parable open- 
ended with the response of the second son not stated in the parable, 
but implied if the parable is, in fact, to have the first and second 
halves balanced around the center. Bailey's structure is as follows: 



Second Son comes 

Your Brother is Safe; There is Feasting 
A Father Comes Out to Reconcile 

Complaint No. 1 Look How You Treat Me! 
Complaint No. 2 Look How You Treat Him! 
A Father Tries to Reconcile Still a Second Time 
Your Brother is Safe; There is Feasting 
(Will the Second Son Come Inside?) 

Bailey's efforts in finding an essential structure for Lukan para- 
bles deserves more attention than can be devoted in this survey. 
His work calls attention to the need for greater appreciation of the 
nature and form of the "Parabolic Ballad." Perhaps even more sig- 
nificant has been his discovery of what he calls "Theological Clus- 
ters," namely, the clustering of theological motifs within the para- 
bles so arranged as to impel a listener to identify with and to re- 
spond to the parable in terms of repentance, faith and discipleship.^ 
His thesis seems to be that the symbols and the structure of the 
parables call for a response. 

If, as John Drury states, the story of the disciples on the road to 
Emmaus belongs to same literary and narrative structure as the 
Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, it appears that this 
threefold story should be able to be analyzed in a manner 
suggested by Kenneth Bailey. A survey of leading commentators 
has revealed that while most see the three different sections of the 
story, none have observed elements of a "Parabolic Ballad" as part 
of the essential structure. Generally, the parable has been divided 
into three standard sections. E. Earle Ellis calls this passage "The 
Emmaus Appearance: The Message of Jesus" 24:13-32. He sees the 
structure as consisting of the opening conversation of "the 
stranger" (13-24) followed by the Lord's exposition of the Scriptures 
(25-27) with the climax occurring at the supper scene (28-32) in 
which the disciples recognize Jesus and recall how he "opened the 
scriptures" to them." 

Is it possible to observe another structural arrangement within 
this three-part story? If we keep in mind the possibility of inverted 
parallelism as forming the backbone of the entire passage, then 
perhaps the following division may be made: 

Disciples in Conflict Flee Jerusalem 13-24 

The Character of Jesus Revealed 25-30 

Disciples with Renewed Hope Return to Jerusalem 31-35 

Since the journey motif figures prominently in both the parable of 
the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, it is not surprising that 
this motif provides the setting for this parable. Although Emmaus 


is mentioned only in verse 13, the actual arrival there falls in the 
center of the story and provides another type of emphasis: 

Jerusalem 13 
Emmaus 28-29 
Jerusalem 33 

The inner experience of the disciples offers a further contrast 
within the parable. In the first half the disciples are filled with un- 
certainty. They suggest a picture of despondency and misery in the 
opening of the parable. Within the second half they have become 
transformed by joy and are seen running back to Jerusalem. The 
following scheme may be suggested. 

Two disciples flee Jerusalem 13 

Uncertainty characterizes their walk 14 
Jesus joins them in their walk 15 
The two do not recognize him 16 
Their faces are sad 17 

The two disciples talk to Jesus 18-24 
Jesus talks to them 25-27 

They arrive at Emmaus 28-29 
Jesus breaks bread with them at the table 30 
The disciples share the bread 30 
Their eyes of faith are opened 31 
They recognize him 31 
Jesus vanishes from their sight 31 
Joy and certainty characterize their response 32 
Two disciples hasten back to Jerusalem 33-35 

It appears that Luke consciously or unconsciously drew the ele- 
ments of sacred tradition together to form a pattern which he had 
already used widely earlier in his Gospel. One is left with the in- 
triguing question: Did Luke intend the structure to be a parable for 
the reader of the early church as well as later readers? Luke's mas- 
terful control of the passage suggests that the appearance of the 
Risen Lord and his explanation of God's plan for believing disciples 
were intended to convince and confirm these believers in the Risen 
Messiah. For a brief moment the spotlight shines on Emmaus, but 
the walk and response of the disciples are seen as essential to the 
meaning of the parable. At Emmaus they invite Jesus to be their 
guest; while at the table he becomes their host. The climatic 
center, the orderly arrangement of phrases, sentences and move- 
ment, and the artistic incorporation of clusters of theological motifs 
will continue to provide a rich treasure for all who take time to ap- 
preciate Luke's style and structure. Chapter 24 will continue to 
offer a mosaic which upon closer examination may lead to deeper 


faith and discipleship for anyone who will let the symbols speak. 
Robert J. Karris has summed up the abiding contribution of this 

When all is said and done, the meaning of Jesus' resurrection re- 
mains a mystery which eludes our grasp. Pondering its meaning 
through images is extremely helpful, but is like viewing a pre- 
cious Rembrandt painting through Venetian blinds. Flashes of in- 
sight and appreciation must substitute for total comprehension.^ 


'Ernst Haenchen, "The Book of Acts as Source Material for the History 
of Early-Christianity," Studies in Luke- Acts, ed. L.E. Keck and J.L. Mar- 
tyn (Nashville: Abingdon, 1966), pp. 259ff. 

^The New International Version is quoted. 

^John Drury, The Gospel of Luke (New York: Macmillan Publishing 
Company, Inc., 1973), p. 217. 

"I. Howard Marshall, Luke: Historian and Theologian (Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), pp. 28ff. 

^Kenneth Bailey, Poet and Peasant: A Literary Cultural Approach to the 
Parables in Luke (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Com- 
pany, 1976), pp. 29ff. 

Hbid., pp. 49ff. 

Ubid., pp. 37-43. 

*E. Earle Ellis, The Gospel of Luke, in the New Century Bible Commen- 
tary (London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1974), p. 276. 

^Robert J. Karris, Invitation to Luke (Garden City, New York: Image 
Books, 1977), p. 277. 


Another Way? 

by Arthur M. Climenhaga 

The new missionary, said Newsweek magazine a number of years 
ago, does not try to convert the heathern. "He bears witness to his 
faith by helping them in material ways .... In a world where polit- 
ical, cultural and economic independence are being pursued with 
religious fervor it is hard to argue that any one religion has a spe- 
cial virtue above any other."' 

Then Newsweek quotes as an example of the "new breed" of mis- 
sionaries, Colin Davis who is reported as saying, "St. Paul's 
methods are no longer successful. The direct approach does not 
work." The implication is starkly clear: today there is another way 
than that in which the church of Jesus Christ has been engaged for 
nearly two thousand years. 

But before we give in so easily to the demands of another way, 
what is the way which Christianity has been following in the 
missionary motivation, the missionary message, the missionary 
method? The appeal is to Paul, not necessarily to his methods as 
Colin Davis alleged, but to Paul's word. 

At the heart of the Pauline expression is the following word: 

*®For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; 
but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. '^For it is writ- 
ten, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to no- 
thing the understanding of the prudent. ^"Where is the wise? 
where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not 
God made foolish the wisdom of this world? ^^For after that in the 
wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God 
by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. ^^For 
the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: ^^But 
we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and 
unto the Greeks foolishness; ^*But unto them which are called 
both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of 
God. ^^Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the 
weakness of God is stronger than men.^ 

The spirit of these verses can only be understood against the 
backdrop of first century times. No longer could the Greeks boast of 
great soldiers or statesmen but they still held their heads high as 
the intellectual leaders of the hour. The world of that day was 
dominated politically by the Roman but the conqueror in turn was 
conquered by the philosophy of the Greek. Standing to the side in 
religious disdain was the Jew who sensed in his own development 
the fullest insight concerning the fact of God. All of these have 
been classified so well as the respective proponents of "know your- 
self," "rule yourself," "know your God." None of them felt any sense 
of lack. 


Yet it was of this diverse group embodied in the cosmopohtan 
crossroads of the Near East, Corinthian in character, that the 
Apostle Paul spoke. To these he declared the simple yet profound 
fact of the Gospel of the Cross of Christ. He saw them, the contemp- 
tuous men that they were, perishing in their sins. In the word of 
the text the wisdom of the Greek and the practicality of the Jew, 
the humanistic/anthropomorphic philosophy of one and the self- 
centered theistic religion of the other, these stood under the con- 
demnation of God. They fell so far short of even a minimal achieve- 
ment of the noblest aspiration. The inner dynamic, the inner power 
to change, know, and rule life simply was not there. And as for 
knowing God, the worship of the ecclesiastics was expressed in 
forms and traditions and hundreds of laws, but no transforming 
grace was there. 

The modern day is so like Paul's day. The spirit of the hour calls 
for a new word, a new concept, a new morality — a so-called renewal 
of old theologies into modem terms and concepts; a renewal of 
dying church systems into new forms of redemption, reconciliation 
or liberation; a fusion of all world religions into one glorious, new, 
unified world religion; a belief in the universal "redemption" of all 
humanity who come to Grod in their own sincere ways. 

The world was seeking a religion with world-wide validity long 
before Symmachus, the Roman prefect, remarked about religion, 
"It is impossible that so great a mystery should be approached by 
one road only." The strong tendency to synthesize the world's reli- 
gions, to filter off the elements of truth in each and unite them into 
a whole, is no longer a major trait of the Eastern religions alone, 
however. Official statements of spokesmen for too many church 
and interchurch movements back down from the exclusive claims 
of Christianity that "neither is there salvation in any other." 

From this compromising stance it is but a step to a new univer- 
salism of all religions and faiths — a veritable universal fusion of 
Christianity with animism as well as major ethnic faiths. A lead- 
ing journalist, David Lawrence, once pictured it as follows: 

"Although religious conflicts still divide some countries, emphasis 
in recent years has turned toward the many things which all reli- 
gions have in common."^ 

After speaking of the attempts of several church bodies, so diverse 
in theology, to meet in a new spirit of dialogue as examples of this 
new spirit, Lawrence goes on to say, 

"This is not a new objective. Thirty-five years ago in India, 
Bhagavan Das, a noted Hindu scholar, traced similarities of 
Judeo-Christian doctrines and those of ancient Persia, Arabia and 
China, comparing the teachings of Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, 
Buddha, Confucius and earlier spiritual leaders. The concept of a 
supreme being was dominant in virtually all. He concluded: "So 


long as men and women are taught to believe that religions differ 
in essentials, so long will they continue to differ, quarrel, shed 
each other's blood. If they are led to see that all religions are one 
and the same — in essentials — they will also become one in heart, 
and feel their common humanity in loving brotherhood.' "^ 

In these developments then the sense of the mission of the 
church comes to full syncretistic flower. Here there is no necessity 
to challenge men to flee to the Lord Jesus Christ. Here there is no 
"Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" Here there is no wish- 
ing oneself accursed for his kinsmen's sake because they are lost. 
Instead here is the overflowing spirit of a love and service which 
looks to dialogue with the faiths and practices of the world with a 
view of introducing to them that which they already are by the 
grace of God and which they will be whether they accept it or not 
in this life. 

To this world, the word of the cross is foolishness; to the wise, it 
is the essence of mental stupidity. To believe that the man Jesus, a 
product of Nazareth, is the Son of God, that He lived in unspotted 
righteousness though tempted as we are and yet without sin, that 
He died the death of a criminal and was buried, that He literally 
rose from the dead in bodily form, that He ascended to His Father 
in heaven, that He now intercedes for His own at the right hand of 
the Father, that He will come again to judge the living and the 
dead, this is the height of foolishness. 

Especially the preaching of the cross as an emblem of the 
crucified Christ, crucified to shed blood as redemption for fallen, 
sinful man, this today is: 

— foolishness to the "honest to what God addict," the believer in 
concepts of God who is not "out there" but the "ground of being" 
(whatever that may mean); 

— foolishness to men who believe they can purge their consciences 
and renew their wills by a denial of guilt and by the process of cul- 
tured thinking and insight into a new morality which makes ethi- 
cal standards of very little effect; 

— foolishness to the scientist who places the finding of ultimate 
answers in norms, computations, formulae; 

— foolishness to the man who seeks the answers to the social ills in 
human concept alone; 

— foolishness to the man who is bent on weekend pleasure, recrea- 

— foolishness to the worldling who sees in the cross no source of 
power to carve out a fortune or create a career or become a political 

— foolishness to the rebels against society who proclaim "love" as 


the end all of life but who have no place for the cross of Christ in 
that love. 

This is the situation to which the Apostle Paul speaks — these, he 
says, are perishing. A fact today which axiom-like needs reaffirma- 
tion, which desperately needs renewal in concept and affirmation, 
is this: Our world is not under the rulership of a benevolent Grod 
who will surely save His own. Rather the Bible says the lord of the 
earth is the evil one, satan, the devil, the prince and power of the 
air. Society, instead of being under the Lordship of Christ, is under 
the lordship of the fallen Lucifer. The words of Jesus need re-em- 
phasis, "I saw Satan fall as lightening from heaven."^ 

The world and society as we know it are perishing, and what is 
the church and the ministry doing about it? 

Too often the Church offers humanistic philosophy or an- 
thropomorphic sociology or involvement on a human level alone to 
lost sinners. There is no word of grace, no surgery of the cross, no 
Jesus Christ who is the Redeemer of the lost, the Savior of the sin- 

Louise Stoltenberg spoke to this point in Christianity Today by 
citing three examples: 

"There is an unusual coffeehouse in Washington, D.C., that is op- 
erated by members of a unique ecumenical church in the city. In 
San Francisco a 'night minister,' a clergyman with fifteen years of 
pastoral experience, wanders the streets of the Tenderloin district 
nightly from ten o'clock to early morning, making himself availa- 
ble to any persons who need help. In a Baltimore shopping center 
anyone interested may step beyond a reception desk into a chapel 
to pray. Descriptions of all three of these new patterns of church 
work specifically disclaims any efforts to convert involved; the ob- 
ject rather is to be helpful, to listen, and to serve. "^ 

Then she went on to declare in incisive and telling terms: 

"So when the institutionalized church makes a gargantuan effort 
to break out of the confines of its conventional ministry, it too is 
in the embarrassing situation of not knowing how to be com- 
pletely true to itself. It too takes the easy route and settles for 
humanitarianism. But can we even imagine the Apostle Paul try- 
ing to 'help people' while remaining silent about the Gospel? In- 
deed, the Gospel was the help he could offer, the key to renewal 
and the transformed life. 'How shall they hear without a 
preacher?' was his cry, and it applies to men today just as in 
Paul's time."* 

Ah, here lies the key, the resource of renewal, for a church in- 
volved in a world in crisis, the affirmation of the evangelical 
imperative is here in the word of the text, "the preaching of the 
cross . . . we preach Christ crucified." Here there is no magnifica- 
tion of the liturgical, no delineation of the philosophical, no perora- 
tion of the artistic phrase. For in the words of Edmund W. Robb, 


The world does not need a better philosophy; it needs a Savior. It 
does not need a new morality; it needs new life. It does not need 
reformation; it needs regeneration in Christ. Too often the Church 
has offered humanistic philosophy to lost sinners. This is giving 
stones when men ask for bread. We have preached morality and 
have not offered forgiveness and grace. 

It has been noted that the modem Church is not a singing 
church. No great hymns are being written. You do not sing about 
a philosophy, and you do not rejoice in a cold morality. We sing 
about a Person, a Saviour, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said, 'And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all 
men unto me.' In the Cross of Christ there is an attraction that 
will bring sinners to repentance and faith. In the Cross we see the 
love of God. In the Cross we see the awful penalty of sin. In the 
Cross we see a Saviour dying for us. Let us preach the Christ of 
the Cross and the empty tomb, and we shall see the world kneel 
at the feet of Jesus. '. . . every knee shall bow' . . . 'every tongue 
shall confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord. . . .' 

If we are to have effective evangelism we must believe in the 
saving power of the Grospel. The Church is not for nice people but 
for sinners saved by grace. There is no sin so great, no heart so 
hard, no person fallen so low, but that Jesus Christ can forgive 
and transform him and make him whole. Perhaps the Church has 
lost faith in the changing of the redeeming power of the Saviour. 
Alcoholics can be made sober, prostitutes made pure, materialists 
made spiritually minded, sick personalities made well; broken 
homes can be restored, and wrecked lives can have a new begin- 
ning in Christ. Our faith to obtain life-changing power must pass 
from the psychiatrist's couch to the altar of prayer. 

Let us offer to the world the mighty Saviour. In so doing we 
shall see the beginning of renewal in the Church and salvation for 
the lost."' 

Why then has the word of the Cross this power unto salvation? 
Let us put the question to the New Testament and gather up the 
broad effect of the New Testament writings as codified in our text 
so as to learn the secret of the power of the Cross. 

First of all, as Dr. W.M. Clow, a great Scottish divine, put it, the 
word of the Cross of Christ is the dynamic of a sublime fact.^ Any 
painter attempting to symbolize the Christian Church in human fi- 
gure would paint her looking forward rather than back — the stance 
is one of hope rather than a pensive attitude of memory. And yet! 
the Church looks back repeatedly in remembrance to one supreme 
fact — the death of Christ on the Cross. 

— While we remember the words of the Lord Jesus with awe and 
wonder and delight, yet the Christian symbol is a cross and not an 
evangelist's text. 

— WThile we recall Jesus' holy character with reverence and adora- 
tion, the Christian symbol is not a lily or a shining face. It is a 


— While we still go back to the Lord of glory's birth in Bethlehem 
with gladness and sing carols with our children in praise of the 
Babe of Bethlehem, the Christian symbol is neither a "wide-eyed 
babe nor a manger cradle." It is a CROSS! 

The supreme fact in Christian history is that Jesus died and the 
cross stands as the watershed of all of history. 

In the New Testament this is the historic fact ruling men's 
thoughts. Not only does it dominate all else in the Pauline epistles, 
but you see it running as a thread through Peter and James and 
John, and with wonderful emphasis in the eloquence of the Hebrew 
epistle, or in poetic cadence in the Revelation, the word that looks 
back to the "Lamb that was slain." They knew and understood 
what was in the heart of the cross because they understood Christ's 
own emphasis on His death. They could look back to remember the 
print of the nails, the tragedy of death, the pathos of loneliness, the 
love that breathed out tender soliditude, the charity that was 
fashioned into prayer, the cries that told of grief and pain and tor- 
ture — these supreme things of the past in Churchillian cadence 
could be said to be the Son of God's finest hour. The cross was His 
hour. His cup. His baptism. His uplifting. And as these disciples of 
old recalled the Cross, its love and sorrow entered their souls. It 
softened their hearts with convicting grace and through it the shed 
blood on the cross cleansed their hearts. 

And so today we need to declare anew that no man, past or pre- 
sent, ever looked back or looks back to the Cross without knowing 
it to be the power of God unto salvation. This dynamic is more than 
a S5nnbol on a church building or a pin in a lapel or an amulet 
hung around the neck; it is the cry in every human heart, "Oh Grod, 
Thy will be done!" 

In this sense we declare the word of the Cross to be the dynamic 
of a doctrine. Every student of the New Testament can find this 
truth expressed in two ways. The first is to be found in the pages of 
the New Testament. The second, the way in which the power of the 
Cross is to be seen is in its work of actually redeeming modem day 

Note the arrangement of the New Testament books in a 
chronological order and you will see the writers grasp of this truth 
is firmer, their assurance of it more unshakeable, their insight into 
it more penetrating, and their joy in it more abounding, in the 
later than in the earlier epistles — ^thus referring to the truth of the 
Cross and all it means. For example, compare First Thessalonians 
to Romans and you will find the doctrine of the Cross has eclipsed 
in the latter every other truth. Not that the earlier books had any 
doubt that Jesus came to redeem men by dying for them. But as 
the years passed, the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of the N.T. 


writers found more fertile understanding of the meaning of the 

This is the dynamic of the doctrine in maturing of understanding 
and experience in one's own hfe. But the dynamic power is still to 
be seen in the lives of sinners today who come face to face with its 
revolutionary message. 

Third, the word of the Cross is the dynamic of a law. There are 
other laws in Christian teaching which do demand attention — ^the 
gentleness of the Christ, His pity and charity, his patience with the 
reviler. His longing for the erring and the outcast, His joy in little 
children. His tenderness with the weak — all of these do speak in 
relevant terms to us today with respect to our social and commu- 
nity obligations of the hour. BUT we must never forget that to New 
Testament men the Cross was the supreme law of life. Says Peter 
speaking of the Christ, "Who suffered for us leaving us an example, 
that ye should follow his steps, who his own self bore our sins in his 
own body on the tree." "He laid down his life for us," says John, 
calling up the vision of the Cross to selfish hearts, "and we ought to 
lay down our lives for the brethren." "Looking unto Jesus," cries 
the author of the letter to the Hebrews writing to men tempted to 
look back, "looking unto Jesus who endured the cross and despised 
the shame." "These are they," rhapsodises the seer of the Revela- 
tion as he finds the Cross to be the law of those in the heavenly 
life, "which follow the Lamb whithsoever he goeth." 

This is the way of those who see their Lord in the garden of 
Grethsamene and cry with him, "Not my will but thine be done," as 
they face their cross of life. 

To such as find the cross the dynamic of a sublime fact, of a doc- 
trine, of a law of life, it will become their ever abiding motive. 

Is any person tempted to be mean in his giving? He is pointed to 
the Cross. Is any one prone to be proud, bitter in temper, rasping in 
speech? Is any one shirking his or her duty, stinting service, and 
declining to make the sacrifice conscience claims? Is any person 
facing a sorrow, or passing through a trial, or becoming bitter with 
life's misfortunes? The one recourse for all is to the Cross. When 
one's feet stumble, when one is inclined to seek some softer or for- 
bidden way, when one enters any dark and inexplicable experience, 
when one goes through the valley of the shadow of death, hold the 
Cross before that person's eyes. No one of you have ever meekly 
humbled herself or himself, taken men's slights without resent- 
ment, endured their caustic tongues, and kept your feet unfalter- 
ingly in the narrow way, without a daily recurrence to the Cross. 

There are but two alternatives. There is no other wayl The word 
of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. It is the 
power of God to those who are being saved. 


"I'm not ashamed to own my Lord, 

Or to defend his cause, 
Maintain the glory of his cross. 

And honour all his laws." 


^Newsweek, (December 30, 1963). 

^I Corinthians 1:18-25. 

^David Lawrence, Reader's Digest, (October, 1965). 

*Luke 10:18. 

^Louis Stoltenberg, "What's Wrong With Church Renewal", Christianity 
Today, IX (April 23, 1965), p. 761 (5). 


'Edmund W. Robb, "Effective Evangelism", Christianity Today, IX 
(April 23, 1965), p. 764 (8). 

*W.M. Clow, The Cross in Christian Experience, (New York: Richard R. 
Smith, Inc., 1930), and note especially chapter XVI, "The Dynamic of the 
Cross", p. 193. 


THESES (1980-1981) 

We are extremely proud of our students and the research that they 
pursue. We have asked them to share a short summary of their com- 
pleted theses at ATS in the hope that others may be made aware of 
these sources. The theses are bound and in the ATS Library. Those 
graduates that responded are listed below. 

Rick K. Fisk, A Model for a Seminar Approach to Christian Educa- 

Most of our churches are lacking in the task of Christian Education, 
when we use the term in its broadest sense. Through this project, I have 
started to develop a model that will help us in the areas of foundational 
materials, organization and methods. As examples, I covered the areas of 
Sunday School, elders, deacons, trustees, and music committees, using two 
different churches for material sources. 

The models start with a questionnaire which is completed in an inter- 
view session. The gathered material is then analyzed and from the 
analysis of need, teaching sessions are developed. The entire program 
deals in areas and with methods that most pastors do not have time or re- 
sources to be able to administer themselves. The model will eventually be 
expanded to cover every conceivable area of church life and be presented 
by myself to individual churches in the form of seminars in Christian Edu- 

David E. Miller, Ministry to Homosexuals 

As homosexuality has become a more significant issue in society, so it 
has become an important concern for the church. The church has addres- 
sed itself effectively to the doctrinal issues relating to homosexuality, but 
has been weak in ministering to homosexuals in society and in the church. 
Ministry to homosexuals must be established upon biblical principles. 
Proclaiming the gospel of Christ, the church must call the homosexual to 
repentance, reconciliation with God, and renewal of the whole person. 
Ministry to homosexuals should include the attitude of redemptive con- 
cern, the declaration of the redemptive word of the Gospel, and the provi- 
sion of redemptive support for the repentant homosexual. 

David C. Pinson, Foundations In Prayer: The Vitality and Effective 
Importance of Prayer on Liturgy, Doctrine, and Devotion In The 
Pre-Nicene Church, With Ramifications For This Present Age. 

The necessity of prayer is an often neglected emphasis within our pre- 
sent day Churches. This was not so of those who made up the Christian 
Church in its first centuries. From information gleaned from outside 
sources, and from evidence demonstrated within prominent material from 
this period (Up to 325 A.D.), prayer was not only necessary, but essential 
to the Christian maturation and development. Leaders such as Justin 
Martyr, Tertullian, and C3T)rian, but to name a few, prove that prayer was 
crucial in the process of Christian living. As has been seen from research- 
ing, prayer must be viewed as the great forging force, through which the 
links of the Christian chain of life can be connected for a greater strength, 
and a higher calling. Greater strength comes firstly through an enriched 
communication with God, out of which personal piety and corporate unity 
become particular realities. Secondly, prayer offers a responsive means 


through which the Church can be ever organized and utilized to its fullest 
potential. Thirdly, prayer assists in the sincere searching of each child of 
God, that they may grasp the precious promises of God's fundamental con- 
cepts through which doctrine speaks. Fourthly, prayer is that essential 
factor by which the earnest soul can become established in a daily walk 
with their Creator and Master, Lastly, as it was true of the Infant Church, 
so it can be said of today's Church, that "prayer is the necessary ingredient 
for positive action for God." In short, when one looks at liturgical, doctri- 
nal, an devotional ramifications in today's congregations, it does not take 
long before the old adage comes to mind that "prayer changes things." 

William A. Simmons, Paul and the Paradosis 

The purpose of this thesis is to discuss Paul's use of Paradosis or "tradi- 
tion" in his epistles. Paul uses traditional material that was liturgical, 
eschatalogical, and christological. The Apostle applied these traditions 
polemically, apologetically, and catechetically. Two of the main conclu- 
sions of the work are that Paul adopted and depended upon many early 
Christian traditions and that many Christian doctrines were established 
very early in the Church. 

George F. Woodward, III, The Western Christian Mystical Tradition as 
Normative Piety 

This thesis examines Western Christian mysticism particularly as ex- 
pressed in the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. 
True faith is defined as being primarily volitional and affective and as 
only secondarily cognitive. Christian mysticism is the exercise of faith in 
cultivation of intimacy with God through contemplation. Through infused 
grace contemplation leads to a high degree of sanctification and to the ex- 
perience of volitional union with God. 

The conceptual dichotomy between fact and value in modern Western 
thought is traced to its origin in the radical separation of faith and reason 
by Thomas Aquinas. Christian mysticism is presented as a desirable 
counter-balance to primarily cognitive perceptions of the nature of faith, 
and as a corrective to the fact value dichotomy that has made religious 
knowledge untenable to the modern world. 

Joel M. Wuliger, Selective Conscientious Objection: And A Case For 
Nuclear Pacifism. 

My thesis concerned itself with the question of whether Christians 
might lawfully participate in war or not. More specifically I dealt with the 
question as to whether the Christian has the biblical option to use force for 
the purpose of self-defense. I studied the use of the sword by the state, in 
the Old and New Testaments, concluding that God has delegated the right 
to use coercive force to the state for the purpose of detering evil and main- 
taining social law and order. I developed the concept of deputization in the 
taking of life by created beings, concluding that God has delegated this 
right to end life, for punitive purposes, to the creature. I examined love as 
it relates to anger and hatred, retributive punishment, and the use of 
force. I concluded that love does not always run contrary to the exercise of 
anger, punishment, and the use of force, for these ought to be an image of 
God's own anger and judgment upon the doing of evil. Concluding that 
there is a biblical and righteous use of the sword, I maintain that the 
wielding of arms by the state is not for sinners alone. This would imply 
that what God might ordain as necessary is in actuality inherently evil. So 


the Christian has the bibhcal option to bear the sword when faced with 
evil aggression. 

In my concluding chapter I argue that, though there needs to be ethical 
guidelines by which war may be justly waged, the traditional "just-war" 
criteria becomes obsolete and inapplicable in light of modem warfare. I 
conclude that no war can be just when the methods of its waging are the 
methods of much of modem warfare — specifically nuclear, chemical, 
biological, and much of the automated and anti-personal weaponry. Thus I 
make a case for nuclear pacifism. 







Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio Fall 1982 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 

Fall 1982 


Introduction to the Current Issue 2 

Henry Holsinger, 1833-1905 

by Charles R. Munson 4 

Brethren Women In Ministry: Century One 

by Jerry R. Flora 18 

Progressivism — A Definition 

by Dale R. Stoffer 36 

J. Allen Miller, 1866-1935 

by Richard E. Allison 51 

The Historical Role Of The Brethren Elder 

by Jack L. Oxenrider 59 

Grod's Call To The Impossible 

by J. Ray Klingensmith 73 

Theses (1981-1982) 77 

Editorial Committee: 

David A. Rausch, Editor 
Douglas E. Chismar 
Joseph N. Kickasola 

Volume XV No. 1 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

Introduction To The Current Issue 

1983 marks the Centennial Anniversary of The Brethren 
Church. This issue is dedicated to the origin and development of 
this group, as well as being a proper attempt to evaluate where the 
denomination has been and where it is going. As the sponsoring in- 
stitution of Ashland Theological Seminary and Ashland College, 
The Brethren Church has a long history of eclectic fellowship and 
educational pursuit. The diverse denominational makeup of faculty 
and students at ATS attests to this fact and, indeed, is a tribute to 
the Brethren philosophy of community and education. 

Dr. Charles Munson (Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University), 
Dean of the Seminary and Professor of Practical Theology, delves 
in the first essay into the life of Henry Holsinger, a man without 
whom Brethren Church "history could not be written." His life was 
intertwined with the church split that ultimately led to a new de- 
nomination in 1883. Because Holsinger "never stood in the way of 
women preaching," the following article, "Brethren Women in 
Ministry: Century One," should not be surprising. Nevertheless, it 
will be to many readers. Written by Dr. Jerry Flora (Th.D., South- 
ern Baptist Theological Seminary), Professor of New Testament 
and Theology at ATS, this lucid essay lays the groundwork for fu- 
ture research in an area which has been virtually untapped. Dr. 
Flora informs us of some very active early years for women in 
Brethren ministry and poses some striking questions as to why this 
situation declined after 1915. 

Dr. Dale R. Stoffer (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary), pastor 
of Columbus Bible Fellowship, writes an excellent scholarly article, 
"Progressivism — A Definition," which offers a historical overview 
of the Brethren and points out issues that contributed to division, 
while defining the Progressive movement and evaluating it. This 
central article delineates the historical and theological perimeters 
of the movement. The fourth essay is that of Dr. Richard E. Allison 
(D. Min., ATS), Professor of Christian Education and Director of 
Doctoral Studies of ATS. Dr. Allison's essay on "J. Allen Miller" 
brings us face to face with another leading individual in The 
Brethren Church. We learn of Miller's influence as a president of 
Ashland College and as a scholar of The Brethren Church. The 
selection of essays is rounded off by Dr. Jack L. Oxenrider's "The 
Historical Role of the Brethren Elder." Dr. Oxenrider (D. Min., 
ATS), pastor of Jefferson Brethren Church in Goshen, Indiana, 
gives us a glimpse of the importance of the elder in Brethren his- 
tory as well as the evolution and institutionalization of the role of 
the elder. 

Our sermonic piece for this issue is written by a beloved preacher 

and teacher in the ATS community, Dr. J. Ray Klingensmith. 
Former chairman of the Department of ReHgion at Ashland Col- 
lege and Professor of Biblical Studies on both the college and semi- 
nary campus, Dr. Klingensmith's challenging message, "God's Call 
To The Impossible," is indicative of thousands of messages he has 
preached in Brethren churches (as well as many other denomina- 
tions) throughout the United States in fifty-six years of ministry. It 
is a fitting testimony to the Brethren heritage and a fitting conclu- 
sion to this volume. 

David A. Rausch, Editor 

Henry Holsinger, 1833-1905 

by Charles R. Munson 

"Independent in all things neutral in 
^ nothing."^ With this strong personal 

^ statement Henry Holsinger began his 

newspaper career, though not his print- 
ing career, in Tjn'one, Pennsylvania. He 
set before his readers at the top of his 
first page an attitude and a philosophy 
which were to guide him until his death. 
He was an independent spirit throughout 
but he was certainly never neutral. That 
spirit brought him to a position of leader- 
ship in the church; it brought him separ- 
Henry Holsinger ^tion from a church he loved. It also 

thrust him to the forefront in leading a denomination whose his- 
tory could not be written without his name figuring prominently. 
Those who remembered him at his death in 1905 remembered 
him as a man who carried his early statement of principle to fulfill- 
ment. Balsbaugh said of him, ". . . It might have been said of him 
that the zeal he cherished had eaten him up. . . . His one theme 
was more work for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ and 
more discretion in conducting it. . . . There were other men who be- 
lieved as he did on the questions at issue. There were other men of 
ability who were his compeers in the ministry. There were other 
men of equal courage of convictions. But it fell to Brother Hol- 
singer to bring the man and the opportunity together which 
marked an epoch in the history of the Brethren."^ 

Who was this man who, perhaps more than any others, precipi- 
tated the division of the German Baptist Church in 1881 and fol- 
lowing, a church which had existed since its founding in 1708 in 
Germany? What were the internal forces which motivated him and 
kept him in the forefront of turmoil? 

Holsinger had a strong church background: his father and grand- 
father were preachers, and he was a grandson of a great-grand- 
mother of Alexander Mack, Jr., one of the founders of the church. 
Despite that, he says that he was a "little wild in our time,"^ and 
he regrets that he "remained outside of the Church" for a period of 
his youth. He admits, "The only cause of regret that I have experi- 
enced is that I did not start out sooner and keep closer to the 
path."* He was baptized into the Tunker Church in 1855, at Clover 
Creek, Pennsylvania, elected to the ministry in 1866, ordained to 
the eldership in 1880,^ and then elevated to the office of bishop.® 

And after a very brief life review he asks a question and answers 
aright, "The remainder of my history, is it not written in the 
Chronicles of the Church?"' Indeed it was. 

The publishing business, education, and the church provided al- 
most equal motivation to Henry; perhaps the church was primary. 
He began rather early in the printing business, working as an ap- 
prentice under Henry Kurtz in Poland, Ohio, where the Gospel 
Visitor, a church paper, was published. Holsinger wanted Kurtz to 
make the paper a weekly publication; and when Kurtz rejected the 
idea, Holsinger went back to his home in Morrison's Cove, Pennsyl- 
vania, where he taught school and worked as a farmer.^ Sometime 
in 1865 or earlier he moved to Tyrone, Pennsylvania, where he 
published the Christian Family Companion, thus turning his real 
interests into practically. 

While in Tyrone he purchased a newspaper office and established 
the Tyrone Herald.^ But the newspaper was not his real desire; 
instead he preferred to direct a religious paper. The Christian 
Family Companion combined his publishing desires with his Chris- 
tian convictions. He says of this publishing venture. "A free ros- 
trum was announced for the discussion of all subjects pertaining to 
the welfare of the church. "^° Henry Holsinger had an overwhelm- 
ing desire to inform the church and to let the church speak to its 
own issues. Thus, in his very first religious publishing venture he 
allowed a "free rostrum" to provide that forum. "I do not believe," 
he said, "that the press is the most effective medium for the spread- 
ing of these truths. I am persuaded, that for the present at least, it 
is the most expedient. This may be accepted as one of the motives 
that has originated this publication."^^ 

His zeal was- expressed as the paper developed and as he re- 
counted how seriously the church was in "need of reformation."^^ 
He never imagined that his avid desire for a church paper and 
what he believed to be the benefits of the same would ultimately 
contribute so greatly to a division he abhorred. He says of his early 
recollection of the paper, "I distinctly remember my emotions on 
first sight and handling of our church paper [Gospel Visitor], and 
with what interest I read every column."^^ 

In 1870 Holsinger began The Pious Youth, a sixteen-page 
weekly. He wanted to supply "our youth with reading matter 
adapted to their special wants, in language that would be pure, and 
in ways that would be interesting and helpful."^* The year 1878 
saw the beginning of The Progressive Christian, perhaps the most 
controversial of all his publications. Its avowed purpose was also to 
allow a "free rostrum" and to advance ideas which at least Henry 
thought would be beneficial to the church. Holsinger and J.W. Beer 
were responsible for the paper but they disagreed on how radical 

the paper ought to be, Holsinger favoring a more radical, progres- 
sive nature. When Beer bought out Holsinger and could not make 
the paper succeed, Holsinger bought it back and proceeded to make 
it more "progressive" than ever. It was the publication of this paper 
which ultimately led to Holsinger's basic problems, for all issues 
were publicly "aired" through this medium. 

But publishing was not Holsinger's main concern, though he did 
call it "my favorite prqfession."^^ The Church was really at the 
heart of Henry Holsinger's life; publishing was only a means to an 
end. He saw the church in need of reform and advancement in 
order to "keep pace with the times." To him and to others it was es- 
sential that the church meet the challenges of the day. It meant an 
"onward, a forward movement, in the right direction. To be still a 
little plainer: a movement by the direction of God's Word. . . . Our 
motto is: Go on and seek to know the Lord, and practice what you 

He wanted the church to be firmly based on the Bible and that 
required always a more careful understanding of the Scriptures. 
For instance, "We come a little nearer obeying the ordinance of feet 
washing, according to the example of Christ, as we learn where we 
could do so, by our improved facilities for learning and understand- 
ing the word of God. . . . The Savior does not command us to wipe 
one another's feet except in the example, and the expression 'do as 
I have done to you.' Therefore we wash and wipe one another's feet. 
But the Savior does not say either by precept or example, that we 
should salute one another with a kiss immediately after we have 
washed one anothers' feet; therefore, it is not required of us to do so 
by authority of God's word. And as it was not so done by Christ and 
the apostles when the ordinance was instituted, we hold that it 
would be progressing nearer to the word of God by omitting the 
salutation at the time of feetwashing. We would give honor to 
God's word, and also to God's silence. "^^ 

For Holsinger the church had to be the church by being close to 
the Bible or moving closer to it. The "Bible alone" principle was a 
paramount issue with him. If something was not stated in the 
Bible it was not valid for the church. When the division ap- 
proached, he reflected on what he called "their bundle of nearly 
3,000 decisions — laws which they made themselves." This he re- 
futed by saying, "... if your creed contains more than the Gospel, it 
is adding to it; if it contains less, it is taking from it; if it is the 
same, leave it in it. If it is something different, we don't want it. 
They can not show a particle of gospel authority for hundreds of 
these mandates."'® 

He believed, as he said, "My church right or wrong. When it is 
right to keep it right, and when it is wrong to be made right."'^ "I 

believe the Church is right, and its sentiments are true, but indi- 
vidual members may be wrong. Let us 'prove all things and hold 
fast to that which is good!"^° His church, as it became after the divi- 
sion, was the true church, he said, because they (Old Order and 
Conservatives) "hear the gospel interpreted through the church 
and we hear the church defined through the gospel. We accept the 
gospel as it says; they [Old Order and Conservatives] as AM [An- 
nual Meeting] interprets it."^^ In sum the church was being di- 
vided, according to Holsinger, because the church was acting out of 
principles that went beyond the gospel. It was not only that the 
church refused to incorporate the advances he urged, but that they 
went further than the gospel would allow. 

Holsinger's position was ". . . that things that are not revealed, 
however convenient and useful they may be, are not essential for 
salvation; hence, we will let the churches decide those things for 
themselves, for they are not essential to salvation. Whenever the 
Lord has commanded us to cross Fox river there we will find the 
bridge, and wherever we do not find the bridge there we need not 
cross the river."^^ Therefore, church practices which became har- 
dened and mandatory and unsupported by Scripture were not 
valid. For example, on the question of forward or backward bap- 
tism, Holsinger was asked, "Who should decide?" His reply was di- 
rect: "It would not matter who decided it for it is not essential to 
salvation. . . . But our custom is to baptize while kneeling and by 
forward motion. . . ."^^ He would conclude then that the acts are by 
custom. He considered the Lord's Supper in the same manner: ". . . 
the gospel has not specified it [the nature of it], and therefore it is 
not essential. "^^ "Where God's word is plain we will obey and where 
he is silent we will be silent, and thus we will honor his silence as 
well as his word."^^ Again he says, ". . . let us all be united in giv- 
ing entire liberty in matters not taught in the Gospel. "^^ In a dis- 
cussion over the cut of a certain brother's coat, Holsinger asks: 
"Where do we find that order? Is it in the Bible? No, but Annual 
Meeting made that order, and it has no right to make rules where 
the Bible is silent.^^ Thus, for Holsinger, a true church acts on the 
basis of strict Gospel mandates and not on what he called "man- 
made" mandates. Those on both sides of the question were trying to 
learn how to face the world; they differed only on how to do it. 

Holsinger was also keenly interested in education, though he 
had only had a "common school education."^^ As with his printing 
interests, so with his educational interests, he believed that "the 
leadership of the church must be informed and educated." He 
lamented the fact that so many of the persons in leadership could 
not read or write. He could, he said, ". . . even now close my eyes 
and name a dozen churches with whose elders I was personally ac- 

quainted who could not read intelligently a chapter from the Bible 
or a hymn from a hymnbook, nor write an intelligent notice or an- 
nouncement for a communion meeting for the paper."^^ Such posi- 
tions of leadership carry more responsibility than to be simply 
pious, ". . . it bears with it a fitness to teach and a capability to use 
sound doctrine, to exhort and to convince gainsayers. And even 
more so accordingly to the usages of the church and in religious lit- 

So Holsinger advocated education and gave it his full support. 
He coveted for others what he himself did not have, except a self- 
education. "He had been a school teacher in Bedford County and 
was successful with young people. He was a most persuasive 
preacher and very well read. He was an extensive traveler in the 
United States and visited the Land of our Lord. This he felt he 
must do in order to understand what he was reading and preaching 
from God's Word."^^ Undoubtedly this rather extensive self-study 
made him, what A.L. Garber, onetime editor of the Evangelist, 
called a person with ". . . ponderous reasoning powers."^^ 

Perhaps his own lack of education made him zealous for it in 
others. Well known is his advocacy for Sunday schools, but beyond 
that he was a prominent individual in an enterprise to establish in 
Berlin, Pennsylvania, a "school of higher grade. "^^ The plan was to 
raise $100,000 to establish the school. In less than 10 days almost 
$20,000 was raised. A total of $60,000 was raised by S. Z. Sharp 
and Holsinger, but the total amount was never reached and the 
school at Berlin never materialized. 

The most taxing of his efforts on behalf of education came in his 
efforts to save Ashland College from bankruptcy. This was an ex- 
tremely trying time for him. He spent more than two years trying 
to raise $20,000 to pay off an indebtedness. Something of his spirit 
emerges as he says, "This is my last call. I feel that I have done my 
full duty both to the college cause and in the way of admonishing 
you to your duty. I have a good conscience toward God and man. I 
have sacrificed my favorite profession and the comforts of home to 
myself and family, have given over two years of my time, have sub- 
scribed one hundred dollars toward paying the debt, and am over 
eighty dollars short on traveling expenses. ... I have visited all the 
churches once and some twice. I have not courage left to go again, 
and could not afford to do it if I had."^* It was his most discouraging 
time. He encountered men with money who would not support the 
cause and it angered him, primarily because he had sacrificed so 
much himself. But he fulfilled the "duty" that was all important to 

Yet, despite his efforts to establish or maintain a college, he did 
not believe that everyone should go to college. He lamented the sad 


intellectual state of pastors before and after the division of the 
church. And though he spoke often to college graduating classes, 
and though he became president of the Board of Trustees of Ash- 
land College, he hesitated to recommend college for every pastor. 
In 1902 he observed "that many of the congregations have left the 
old method of calling ministers from among the laity, depending 
entirely on importation of their help in that line of service. . . . Call 
your own congregation together and give the members an opportu- 
nity to select from their own 'rank and file' those whom they would 
have to serve them. ... In congregations where the rule is con- 
tinued there is no lack of ministers. ... I also see that some 
churches depend on the college to supply them with preachers. 
That, too is an error that will eventually ruin the denomination if 
persisted in. . . . Ashland College is simply an institution of learn- 
ing, to which those who have been called to the ministry by the 
church, may be sent to be taught the things pertaining to the 
duties required of them, providing the congregation that called 
them deems it prudent to do so. All men do not require a college 
education to preach the gospel. Some are hindered by a course. 
Each congregation will know what is best for the servant whom 
she has called into her service."^^ But as he says, "I never could see 
that education was a dangerous thing, and had a great thirsting for 
more of it. I always preferred to hear a man preach who knew more 
than myself."^® 

When P. J. Brown commented on William Spanogle's assessment 
of progress brought about by Holsinger's policies, he said, "Brother 
Spanogle has abundantly shown that brother Holsinger has led the 
advance guard in every movement tending toward the upholding of 
a higher type of intelligence in our ministry, and Brotherhood in 
general, and toward the breaking down of tradition, ignorance and 
superstition. . . ."^^ 

Holsinger recalled with displeasure a situation where conform- 
ing to the order of dress was more important than being able to be 
educated to preach properly. Speaking of a man of high importance 
who gave his preference regarding learning or conforming to the 
"order" he says, "If he were required to give the casting vote be- 
tween two brethren with equal qualification as to spirituality and 
moral character, the one a man of learning and a preacher of eloqu- 
ence, but who did not conform to the order in wearing his hair and 
clothing, and another who did conform to the order but could not 
preach, he would unhesitatingly accept the latter."^^ It was the 
holding of such attitudes which prodded Holsinger to react and, one 
could say, attack. 

Holsinger would have chosen, without question, the man with 
the education. He never questioned "The Ancient customs of the 

church;" they "should be respected,"^^ he said; but he wanted them 
not to stand on an equality with the Word of God. And he didn't 
want the "customs" to stand in the way of education, which he felt 
was necessary to meet the challenges of the day. It was this advo- 
cacy that led him and others to question the organization of the 
church and its authority structure. He found some of the leadership 
opposed to that view and tb what appeared as a disregard for the 
"orders of the church." Quite the contrary for Holsinger, education 
was in order; the customs of the church were in order; but neither 
was in order if it broke with the "gospel alone" principle. 

True, Holsinger was a churchman, a publisher, an advocate of 
education, but he was also a pastor-preacher. His record is replete 
with dedication sermons preached, college baccalaureate sermons 
delivered, pastorates held, and free-lance preaching in a variety of 

He recalls his first pastorate, while responding to a brother des- 
pondent over his own first pastorate and not winning one sinner to 
repent: "I had the same trouble to contend with, and was wonder- 
fully tempted to quit. In addition to my own trouble, I had in my 
employ at the time a Baptist minister who shared his temptation 
with me." The Baptist preacher suggested that both of them quit 
preaching, and Henry responded, "I have no doubt. . . but that our 
weak effort to do right may be leading someone in the good way we 
are trying to point out. And so if I hold out faithful to the end, I 
will be sure of saving at least one soul by preaching the gospel, and 
one for whom I could have no assurance if I had not preached. And 
that one soul is worth more to me than the whole world. And so 
from that time on I did my best in preaching the word and left the 
results with the Lord.""" 

His attitude toward preaching is that it should be, as he called it, 
"distinctive preaching," meaning from both testaments. He says, "I 
seldom get too much Gospel distinctiveness. . . . These principles 
[here he means Hebrews 6] should receive the special attention of 
every pastor ... at least once a year at every appointment in his 
charge. ... I especially love to hear a good solid sermon on the sub- 
ject of repentance during revival services. There is no subject bet- 
ter calculated to break up the great fountain of every sinner's true 
inwardness than that of repentance from dead work. . . .""^^ 

While not many of Holsinger's sermons are available there are 
enough to know that he appears to have been an orderly preacher. 
"Give us plain, logical arguments," he urged, "based upon the evi- 
dent teaching of the Gospel, written in the spirit of love, so we may 
hope to win those who may be of contrary opinion." In addition he 
asked that the sermons not be in "controversial form.""*^ His were 
not. Albert Trent, Holsinger's secretary for his so-called Berlin 


trial, recorded a message of his on "Perfection." He defines the 
term, gives numerous illustrations, then uses Biblical examples, 
after which he gives examples of Christian characteristics. He then 
urges his hearers to redouble their efforts "in pressing onward in 
the Christian life. "I desire to make my sermons practical. ... I 
want that you should desire to excel, not that you should take ad- 
vantage of your brethren, but that you may become more holy, 
more truthful, more honest, and more sincere. . . ."^^ With a few 
more illustrations and a brief conclusion he leaves his audience to 
ponder his message. He gives every evidence of being orderly, not 
only in his preparation, but also in his delivery. Certainly he must 
have had ability to have been called upon to preach so often. 

Interestingly enough, he never opposed women preachers. Upon 
hearing Annie Shaw preach in San Jose, he remarked, "I heard 
Miss Annie Shaw preach an excellent sermon ... I am glad I never 
stood in the way of women preaching, and that I belong to a church 
that assists them in doing so."*^ 

As a pastor he was held in high regard with much appreciation. 
His own attitude was that a pastor "should locate among his 
people, be ordained as their pastor, take charge of the church and 
minister to all their number, supported by them, accountable to 
them, and watching over them. Then he can and may be their pas- 
tor."*^ While pastoring in South Bend, Indiana, he said, "I manage 
to run away sometimes week days, when strongly pressed and that 
at the risk of my health." But there, as well as elsewhere, he found 
"the relation of pastor and people a very pleasant one indeed, and 
in our case it will be hard to sever; but my father used to say . . . 
'love binds and love relieves.' "*^ 

But it was in Berlin where he received his support during his 
most trying times. He might also have been his busiest there. On 
one occasion in Berlin he borrowed a carriage, took his wife and 
made a sentimental journey. He reflected, "It appeared very much 
like old times, when we used to traverse these hills and valleys in 
our pastoral duties. We passed but few places at which I had not 
served in some capacity of pastoral services, solemnizing mar- 
riages, serving funerals, or anointing and visiting the sick."*^ He 
always seemed to remember his times in the pastorates as good 
times, whether in California, or Indiana, or Kansas, or Nebraska, 
or Pennsylvania or anywhere else. He never recalls struggles with 
local congregations, only with the leadership of the large body. It is 
hard to imagine him not being outspoken in a local situation, but 
he must not have been. Of his experiences in the pastorate he says, 
"I worked along without jarring with the congregations in which I 
lived or the officers under whom I served for more than fifteen 


Holsinger's reflection of his own life in his later years is rather 
harsh. He ponders the friends he has and says, "I thank God that I 
have many good friends in this world, if I have not much money. 
But it is beginning to be a mystery to me how I came to have them 
and to hold them, unamiable, outspoken, sarcastic and austere, as I 
feel myself to have been."^® There were many, not his friends, who 
would have agreed with his statement wholeheartedly. 

In a less critical mood he said, "I wish I had another life, better 
life, purer life." He never regretted "any sacrifice I made for 
Jesus. "^° "I care more to please God," he said, "than I do to please 
men, in gratifying a friend or appeasing a foe."^^ One who reviewed 
the life of Holsinger and reflected on the criticism that Henry 
abused the Brethren, remarked, "... I learned that what he [the 
critic] saw proper to call abuse was only [Holsinger's] calling 
things by their right names."^^ 

Undoubtedly it was his candor which brought him his troubles, 
for he took a different view of confrontation or argument. He would 
say, "Why can't we argue without getting angry?" "Agitation," he 
would say, "is the natural purifier. Nothing betrays the weakness 
of a cause so much as to have it shrink from investigation."^^ In 
that sense Holsinger felt he was right in probing the church, but he 
paid a price. He would have to say, thinking of others, ". . . they 
were not handled as roughly as we were, nor do they deserve to 
be."^^ He seemed to sense that his forthright nature was costly, 
though he doesn't appear ever to regret the course he had followed. 
He said of himself, "We are never too proud to acknowledge a fault 
or recall an error. "^^ 

Seemingly that willingness to admit a fault or error allowed Hol- 
singer to be outspoken. When a contributor to his paper wrote and 
asked why his article was not printed, Henry replied, "You didn't 
give your full name; we do not wish to discuss that issue now; and 
because there was nothing in it."^^ 

At times Holsinger appears very naive. Once he was asked to 
open with prayer the Quinter-lVlitchell debate on baptism. He says, 
"I asked the Lord, in my opening prayer, for a special blessing on 
Brother Quinter, that he might be enabled to successfully defend 
the truth. And in order to show impartiality, I offered a prayer also 
for Mr. Mitchell, that the Lord would give him light to see his error 
and accept of the better way." He adds, "My prayer evidently irri- 
tated Mr. Mitchell's natural and acquired evenness of temper, as 
was manifest in his speeches during the day."^^ Holsinger admitted 
that this was improper, as he reflected on it later, but there was an 
innocence about him. As one described him he said, ". . . his 
childlike nature forbade diplomacy and he hated truckling to ig- 
norant prejudices. ... It was not possible in human nature for an 

12 • 

element so hostile to entrenched power to remain at peace within 
the fold. . . ."^^ He seems often to have spoken his heart to the detri- 
ment of himself and the persons receiving. 

Speaking as openly as he did he expected others to respond simi- 
larly. He asked that it be in love, saying, "In reasoning upon these 
subjects let the Brethren set forth an example that will confirm our 
profession of loving one another."^^ He seems honestly to have a 
desire to carry out that same theme in some statements in his own 
written history of the church, though that certainly is not univer- 
sally true. In writing of the German Baptist part of the division he 
remarks, "in the item of mission it is astonishing to notice the 
progress the German Baptist denomination has made during the 
last decade. I can truly say that I rejoice in their progress. . . ."^° 

Perhaps no one sums up the nature of Holsinger better than the 
editor of the Evangelist, A. L. Garber, who wrote in response to an 
editorial from Henry criticizing Garber for not placing his name as 
editor in the periodical. Garber responds that it is his business 
what he does with his name and then reflects on Holsinger: "There 
is no person in the Brethren church for whom I have more sym- 
pathy than for Brother Henry R. Holsinger. This is because he has 
great excesses and deficiencies in his mental organization, with a 
burning desire to do the best he can for the comfort, happiness and 
enjoyment of all our people in earth and eternity. But to attain this 
righteous end, his mental excesses and deficiencies cause him . . . 
to do that which he would not, and that he would do he does not .... 
Brother Holsinger is born for the field of contest. The combative 
element is strong in his nature, but his peace sentiments are also 
strong, and consequently he is never satisfied with himself. "^^ 

Garber continues: "Bro. Holsinger is a man of great benevolence 
and devotion. He will do anj^hing for a friend. . . . His devotion and 
disposition to sacrifice self are noble traits of his character. . . . His 
sympathy for the distressed is great, and his hand and substance 
are ever ready to administer to their wants. We have this highest 
opinion of his devotion to duty, his kindness and generosity, his 
sterling intergrity, thorough honesty, and conscientious desire to 
do his duty before Grod and man."®^ It must be remembered that 
this is a response to a criticism to the author of the statements. 
While in total it is not without its own criticism, it is still quite a 
testimony to Holsinger. 

People did love Henry Holsinger. When his friend Howard Miller 
reviewed Henry's life he said, "Before Henry grew helpless I ad- 
vised him to make a tour of the old church. I wish that he had done 
so. Animosity had died out, and he would have had the time of his 
life among his one-time friends. One reason for that is the fact that 
Henry Holsinger was as honest as the day is long."®^ 


He seemed to have had special graces which attracted women to 
him. Some of the women of Pennsylvania made him a silk quilt. He 
requested that it be placed on his casket and then returned to them 
after the funeral. One sister remarked, following his receipt of the 
quilt, that, "brother Holsinger cast a gloom over the donation serv- 
ice by his doleful reference to his funeral." Holsinger replied that 
he had come to "dread the grave as little as my bed."^* And it was 
the women of the church who raised a pension fund for him. When 
he thanks the sisters in print, he includes a remark from a man 
present when the fund was raised. His reference to Henry reflects 
the sentiment of the women and Holsinger. "If you could have 
heard" he says, "all the loving things which were said about you, 
you would have concluded that instead of being forgotten by your 
brethren, as some pretenders tried to make you believe, you have 
more true friends and admirers in the Brethren church now than 
at any other previous period in your useful life. The statement was 
confirmed and emphasized by the secretary and treasurer in their 
official announcement of the donation. "^^ 

It was once recommended that a monument be erected some- 
where near Ashland to Henry Holsinger, in the form of an "Old 
Folks Home." That never materialized. But perhaps a monument 
stands as one reflects on his life and work. He gave his life to a 
church which still exists, a church, in its broadest sense, which has 
incorporated all the advances Henry once advocated. Had he been 
more subtle, more patient perhaps, things would have been differ- 
ent. But, as one friend said of him, "Holsinger was not a politician. 
He was an idealist. He did not concern himself with the infinite de- 
tails of a siege progressing step by step, but charged straight for 
the citadel. ... If there was one trait of character which was so 
strong as to be a weakness, it was his uncompromising spirit. Yet, 
before the Annual Meeting which expelled him, he made extreme 
concessions to avoid division, but not such as would compromise his 

"If God hates a quitter how He must have loved Henry Hol- 
singer. Nor was he a good waiter." As one said of him, "To brother 
Henry R. Holsinger belongs the honor of being the first to point out 
to the church her larger duty. He saw that she was not meeting the 
Master's thought of the Church's mission in the world. Others may 
have seen this larger duty with him; some few before his day may 
have seen it, but he was first to publish it abroad. It was a tre- 
mendous conviction that grew upon him. He was restive under it. 
He had to give it expression. He did, and he suffered. Suffered as 
the prophet suffers. Thank God he lived to see the day when practi- 
cally the whole Church sees the same vision."®' 



^The Tyrone Herald, Volume I, No. 3, August 23, 1867. 

^Brethren Evangelist, Volume XXVII, No. 13, March 29, 1905. 
^Brethren Evangelist, Volume XXI, No. 39, October 4, 1899. 

^Christian Family Companion, Volume I, No. 4 (Tyrone City, PA: Oc- 
tober, 1864). 

^Henry R. Holsinger, Holsinger's History of the Tankers and the Brethren 
Church (Oakland, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Co., 1901), p. 8. 

«Ibid., p. 491. 

^Ibid., p. 8. 

«Ibid., p. 472. 

^Ibid., p. 472. Holsinger says he purchased the newspaper in 1863 but 
the newspaper itself is dated 1867. Since he kept the paper for only 18 
months he could not have purchased it in 1863 and still be publishing in 
1867. It appears to be a lapse of memory; yet he says it was during "the 
darkest days of the rebellion," and since that would have been prior to 
1867, he could hardly have confused that. 

'"Ibid., p. 473. 

^^Christian Family Companion, Volume I, No. 2, October 4, 1864, p. 1. 

^^Holsinger, History of the Tunkers, p. 473. 

i^Ibid., p. 470. 

^*Two Centuries of the Church of the Brethren (Elgin, IL: Brethren Pub- 
lishing House, 1909), p. 348. 

'^Brethren Evangelist, Volume VIII, No. 43, October 27, 1888. 

^^Progessive Christian, Volume III, No. 10, 1881, p. 2. 

^^Ibid. • 

i«Ibid., Volume IV, No. 26, p. 3. 

'^Brethren Evangelist, Volume XVI, No. 10, p. 113. 

'"Christian Family Companion, Volume I, No. 3, p. 28. 

'^Brethren Evangelist, Volume VI, No. 18, p. 4. 

^'Progressive Christian, Volume III, No. 11, p. 7. 


=^*Ibid., No. 14, p. 7. 

^^Ibid., p. 4. 

^^Ibid., p. 20. 


^^Holsinger, History of the Tunkers, p. 470. 


=^^Ibid., p. 474. 

3"Ibid., p. 475. 

''Cooper, H. A., Two Centuries of Brothersvalley (Westminister, MD: 
Times, Inc., 1962), p. 295. 

^^Brethren Evangelist, Volume VIII, No. 40. 

^^Two Centuries of the Church of the Brethren, p. 319. 

^'^Brethren Evangelist, Volume VIII, No. 43, p. 14. 

'^Ibid., Volume XXIV, No. 20, p. 16. 

'^Holsinger, History of the Tunkers, p. 3. 

3' Albert T. Ronk, History of the Brethren Church (Ashland, OH: Breth- 
ren Publishing Company, 1968), p. 134. 

'^Holsinger, History of the Tunkers, p. 475. 

3^Ibid., p. 486. 

^Brethren Evangelist, Volume XX, No. 31, p. 7. 

"Ibid., Volume XXII, No. 19, p. 13. 

^^Ibid., Volume VIII, No. 22 p. 12. 

^^Progressive Christian, Volume III, No. 31. 

*^Brethren Evangelist, Volume XVII, No. 23, p. 8. 

^^Ibid., Volume X, No. 3, p. 6. 


'^''Brethren Evangelist, Volume VIII, No. 3, p. 4. 

"^Holsinger, History of the Tunkers, p. 3. 

^''Brethren Evangelist, Volume XVII, No. 18, p. 6. 

^"Ibid., Volume VIII, No. 13, p. 8. 

^abid.. Volume IX, No. 34, p. 9. 

^^'Ibid., Volume VI, No. 15, p. 11. 

"Ibid., Volume XVII, No. 28, p. 7. 

^The Pilgrim, Volume VII, No. 3. 

^^Christian Family Companion, Volume IV, No. 33, p. 322. 

^«Ibid., Volume VI, No. 23, p. 220. 

"Holsinger, History of the Tunkers, p. 384. 

^^Brethren Evangelist, Volume XXVII, No. 13, p. 2. 

^^Christian Family Companion, Volume I, No. 2, p. 3. 

^Holsinger, History of the Tunkers, p. 273. 

^^Brethren Evangelist, Volume VIII, No. 40, p. 6. 

16 • 


«^Ibid., Volume XXVII, No. 13, p. 14. 

«^Ibid., Volume XX, No. 42, p. 7. 


««Ibid., Volume XXVII, No. 13, p. 7. 



Brethren Women In Ministry: Century One 

by Jerry R. Flora 

Top row (1-r): Laura Grossnickle Hedrick, Sadie Gibbons Evalson, Mary M. Sterling. 
Bottom row (1-r): Clara Myers Flora, Lovina Young Meyers, Mary Wagoner 


The purpose of this article is to introduce a chapter of Brethren 
history that has not yet been written. The material is sketchy and 
at times inadequate, but the subject is of continuing interest. Other 
students of the Brethren past — even knowing some of the story 
firsthand — did not write it, apparently because their interests lay 
elsewhere. But the time has come to attempt a beginning at recov- 
ering the evidence and reconstructing the picture. And so, uneven 
and incomplete as it may be, this essay intends to introduce those 
women of the Brethren Church who have participated in the 
church's official ministry.^ 

When the German Baptists divided in 1881 and 1882, the Pro- 
gressives who formed the Brethren Church (1883) found them- 
selves confronting a cluster of issues on "the woman question": 
May a woman in the communion service receive the bread and the 


cup from another woman, or must she take them from the hand of 
a man (whether elder or deacon)?^ What is the role of women in the 
teaching and evangelistic activities of the church? Must women 
wear a prayer cap or veil and, if so, when and for what reasons?^ 
What of the temperance movement, led largely by women (espe- 
cially Frances E. Willard of the Woman's Christian Temperance 
Union)? May congregations elect deaconesses as well as deacons 
and, if so, should the women be ordained by prayer and the laying 
on of hands like the men?'' What of the woman suffrage movement 
with its specific goal of giving women the right to vote in political 
elections?^ Similarly, what privileges and responsibilities are open 
to them in the life of the church? In particular, may women be or- 
dained to the ministry and serve as pastors of congregations?® 

Henry R. Holsinger, the leading spokesman of the Brethren 
Church in the period following 1883, wrote at the age of sixty-two, 
"I am glad I never stood in the way of women preaching, and that I 
belong to a church that assists them in doing so."^ How did the 
church assist? Not only by personal and tangible support as the 
women organized to underwrite the infant outreach efforts, but 
also by formally encouraging them to enter the ministry. For ex- 
ample, the 1890 Michigan district conference included in its resolu- 
tions this statement: "6. Women are eligible to the office of minis- 
ter or deacon from the following scriptures: Acts 2:18; 8:1-4; 15:32; 
18:26; Rom. 16:3; 2 Cor. 3:17."« In the next year the Indiana confer- 
ence, not to be outdone, adopted the following: ''Resolved, that we 
extend the hand of welcome to our sisters to enter the ministerial 
field when possessing the necessary qualifications."^ The Illiokota 
conference of the same year (1891) included in its decisions a mo- 
tion ". . . that no distinction be made in representative bodies of the 
church on the basis of sex,"^° 

A fourth district, Pennsylvania, adopted this statement in 1892: 
''Resolved: That we regard woman's work as essential to the salva- 
tion of the world, and that her divine mission is the same as 
man's."" The Ohio district conference of 1894 heard their Commit- 
tee on Woman's Work report, "The sisters certainly feel the press- 
ing need of more ministers in the Brethren church [sic] and realiz- 
ing this fact we deem the preparation of young men and women for 
the ministry of first importance in extending the missionary cause 
and promoting the best interests of the church."^^ And the General 
Conference of 1893, just ten years after the new denomination 
began, took the following position: "Resolved, That this convention 
recognizes and appreciates the force of the expression in Holy Writ: 
'There is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ.' "^^ 

Thus, the Brethren Church in the first dozen years of its life 
went on record through its leading spokesman, district and na- 


tional conferences as favoring the equality of men and women in 
the church and the inclusion of women in the ranks of pastors and 

Who were the women who responded and were acknowledged by 
the Brethren? We give here a roster of those who have been recog- 
nized as ministers and/or have served for any length of time as pas- 
tors in the century of the Brethren Church's existence. Little is 
known of some of these, but what has been gleaned up to this point 
is presented here for the sake of the record. (Numbers in paren- 
theses indicate their position in the chronological description 
which follows.) 

Emma Aboud (28) 
Mary Wagoner Bauman (8) 
Bertha Bell (19) 
Anne Black (33) 
Cora Jean Black (35) 
Etta Warvel Bowman (20) 
Loretta Carrithers (32) 
Margaret Cooke (21) 
Nora Bracken Davis (26) 
Vianna Detwiler (12) 
Esther Dickey (3) 
Ada Garber Drushal (14) 
Sadie Gibbons Evalson (7) 

Grace Fetters (24) 

Clara Myers Flora (5) 

Florence Newberry Gribble (25) 

Alice Harley (13) 

Laura Grossnickle Hedrick (2) 

Margaret Hoover (15) 

Mary Hoover (16) 

Susan White Hyland (38) 

Mrs. P. J. Jennings (22) 

Laura Larson (31) 

Jenny Loi (36) 

Lizzie Masters (4) 

Lovina Young Meyers (10) 

Edna Nicholas (30) 
Catherine Parker (9) 
Mary Pence (27) 
Jennifer Jones Ray (37) 
Mrs. J. B. Richard (17) 
Mrs. T. E. Richards (18) 
Mary Sparks (34) 
Grace Srack (29) 
Mary Sterling (1) 
Etta Tombaugh (6) 
Antonia Walker (11) 
Maude Cripe Webb (23) 

(1) The first woman to be ordained in the Brethren Church was 
MARY MALINDA STERLING (1859-1933), a native and longtime 
resident of Masontown, Pennsylvania. She was converted during a 
revival at twelve years of age and was the youngest of seventeen 
persons baptized on December 30, 1871. She began to teach at 
nineteen and continued until she was twenty-two, studying mean- 
while at Monongahela College, from which she graduated (B.A., 
1882). At that time she became a charter member of the Mason- 
town Brethren Church, then went to Ashland, Ohio, where she 
taught on the Ashland College faculty in 1883 and 1884. She later 
received the Master of Arts degree from Monongahela College 

When the Sisters' Society of Christian Endeavor (after 1919, the 
Woman's Missionary Society) was established by the General Con- 
ference of 1887, Mary Sterling became its first president, continu- 
ing in that office until the reorganization of the society five years 
later. The trustees of the S.S.C.E. called her to the ministry in 
1889, and the Masontown congregation confirmed that initiative 
by unanimous vote. She was ordained at her home church in 1890 
and began a vigorous period of ministerial service. During the ele- 
ven years 1889-1900, she preached 1,157 sermons and brought into 
the Brethren Church seventy-eight persons, forty-eight of them 


receiving baptism at her hand." 

A measure of her reception in the denomination may be inferred 
from her being asked to preach the Sunday morning sermon during 
the 1894 General Conference/^ She also wrote from time to time 
for The Brethren Evangelisf^ and in 1895 served as state 
evangelist for the Brethren churches of Pennyslvania.^^ She was 
pastor of the Masontown congregation early in the twentieth cen- 
tury and, in addition, did evangelistic work in New Jersey and 
West Virginia.^* Her name appears in the ministerial list of The 
Brethren Annual every year from 1892 until 1933, when her death 
came on May 25 at the age of seventy-three. One who did not agree 
with her kind of service still described Mary Sterling as "a remark- 
able woman, ... a splendid leader . . . ."^^ 

(2) Those same phrases could be used as well of LAURA E. N. 
GROSSNICKLE HEDRICK (1858-1934), a native of Mapleville, 
Maryland, about midway between Boonsboro and Smithsburg. 
There at the age of ten she slipped into an empty church building 
on the way home from school in order to kneel and surrender her 
life to Christ. Four years later she revealed her decision and was 
baptized in October 1872. She began to teach school at age seven- 
teen and taught for thirteen years in the state of Maryland, becom- 
ing the first woman in Washington County to hold a first grade 
and first class teaching certificate.^" She also was a charter mem- 
ber of the Mapleville Brethren Church. When the Fairview congre- 
gation west of South Bend, Indiana, called her to become their pas- 
tor in 1891, Mapleville hesitated to ordain her. On the way to Fair- 
view she attended the Ohio district conference where she was or- 
dained, then continued to Fairview where she pastored for three 
years (1891-94). 

During this time her obvious abilities became increasingly 
known. She was invited to preach the Tuesday evening sermon at 
the 1892 General Conference held at Warsaw, Indiana. Three days 
later, at the Friday morning session, she delivered an address to 
the delegates on "Woman's Work in the Church. "^^ Following her 
address the conference was moved to act: "Resolved: That this Na- 
tional Convention extends to the sisters all privileges which the 
brethren claim for themselves. "^^ Six weeks later she spoke to the 
lUiokota conference at Lanark, Illinois, on "How Shall the Breth- 
ren Church Attain a Higher Standard of Spirituality?"^^ And the 
next spring she preached to the Indiana Ministerial Association in 
their meeting at Mexico, Indiana.^^ She was secretary of the board 
of directors of the National Brethren Ministerial Association dur- 
ing 1892-93^^ and also contributed frequently to The Brethren 

Following her Fairview pastorate, she became the (third) na- 


tional president of the Sister's Society of Christian Endeavor (1894- 
98) and, because of her talents and energy, they sent her among 
the churches for six months as a field organizer. In that time she 
visited twenty-seven congregations, twenty former societies, and 
organized thirty-eight new groups.^^ 

In January 1898, Laura Grossnickle married George W. Hedrick, 
a widower of Dayton, Virginia, and she served as pastor of the 
Brethren Church there for several years. The Hedricks lived in 
Dajrton until 1910, when her husband's asthma required a move to 
Hallandale, Florida, their home until her death at the age of sev- 
enty-six on August 7, 1934. Twenty-three years later she was the 
subject of a major two-part article in The Brethren Evangelist — the 
only ordained Brethren woman to be so honored.^^ 

(3) Several other women are listed as ministers in the Brethren 
Church during the 1890s, although not so much is known of their 
lives and service. ESTHER L. DICKEY is one of these. The Breth- 
ren Annual recorded her as being at Bourbon, Indiana, in 1892, 
and at Sidney, Indiana, in 1893 and 1894. In addition to her pas- 
toral service she, together with Laura Grossnickle, was included 
among the Indiana pastors "who did mission work outside of their 
own charge ... in the plan to aid weak churches. "^^ Problems de- 
veloped, however, in her disagreement with the Brethren attitude 
toward "worldly conformity," and Mrs. Dickey withdrew from the 
denomination.^" (4) Also active in the ministry at this period was 
LIZZIE MASTERS, who served the Elkport, Iowa, congregation ac- 
cording to The Brethren Annual for 1893-99. 

(5) CLARA MYERS FLORA (b. 1850), like Esther Dickey, first 
appears in the ministerial list for 1892. She was born in Illinois 
and married Noah A. Flora (b. 1846) of Virginia in 1868. The 
couple united with the German Baptist Church in 1870, of which 
he became a minister in 1875. They transferred, however, to the 
Brethren Church in 1886 "from choice of conviction."^^ Clara Flora 
was called to the ministry in 1892 and from that time actively en- 
gaged in preaching and evangelistic work. Writing at the turn of 
the century, H. R. Holsinger observed that she performed all the 
duties of pastoral ministry including baptism, marriages, and 
funerals, preaching an average of eleven sermons per month.^^ 

Her recorded ministry was at Dallas Center, Iowa (1892-1900), 
and Des Moines, Iowa (1901-16). While at the former church she 
served as "vice-president" of the Illiokota district in 1897 and 
1898.^^ In the early years of the twentieth century The Brethren 
Annual listed her as a missionary-evangelist (1904-07). One exam- 
ple of this activity is the notice from 1904 that she had preached a 
four-week revival at Lake Odessa, Michigan, and at the time of re- 
porting was engaged in another meeting at Hudson, lowa.^^ It is 


significant that in no ministerial list does her name appear with- 
out that of her husband; they are listed in The Brethren Annual 
from 1892 through 1916. Their style of ministry was described by 
Holsinger when he wrote of the Appanoose [Udell], Iowa, church, 
"Brother and Sister Noah Flora of Des Moines, Iowa, are the pre- 
sent pastors, who preach alternately twice each month. "^^ 

(6) ETTA TOMBAUGH of Rochester, Indiana, appears in the 
ministerial lists of The Brethren Annual for 1894-98. (7) Beginning 
at the same time, SADIE A. GIBBONS EVALSON served in pas- 
toral capacity at Waterloo, Iowa (1894); Chicago, Illinois (1895- 
1900); Independence, Kansas (1900-03); Leon, Iowa (1903-09); Por- 
tis, Kansas (1909-13); and St. Joseph, Missouri (1913-20). Her 
notice in the denomination at large began when, at the 1896 Gen- 
eral Conference, she was ordained to be assistant pastor of the 
Brethren mission in Chicago. She worked there with J. D. 
McFaden until he left in 1898, at which time she carried on alone 
for six months imtil J. O. Talley arrived on the field. She was ac- 
tive in children's work, food and clothing distribution, and pulpit 
ministry .^^ In 1915 she married J. W. Evalson of St. Joseph, Mis- 
souri, while working in that city, and she continued there as pas- 
tor. She is one of several ordained women whose work has com- 
bined home missionary and pastoral functions. ^^ 

(8) MARY MELISSA WAGONER BAUMAN (1876-1909), a na- 
tive of Kansas, became a member of the Methodist Church at the 
age of thirteen. She entered high school at Lawrence, Kansas, in 
1892, and taught for several years following her graduation in 
1896. She married Louis S. Bauman (1875-1950) in 1898 and was 
baptized into membership in the Brethren Church. Her ordination 
came at Roann, Indiana, in December 1899.^^ Holsinger described 
her as "a talented, forcible, and consecrated woman," adding, "In 
his absence she is ever ready to take the place of her husband in 
the pulpit, and his people are delighted to have her do so."^^ She is 
usually credited with organizing the first Sisterhood of Mary and 
Martha^" and wrote occasionally for The Brethren Evangelist}^ Her 
ministry was shortlived, however, for she died suddenly of tj^hoid 
fever at the age of thirty-three on September 12, 1909.*^ 

(9) Little is known of the work of CATHERINE PARKER (1838- 
1913) except that she began to preach for the Aurelia, Iowa, church 
in 1899 and died at the age of seventy-four in January 1913.*^ 

(10) Nor is much presently known of LOVINA ELLEN YOUNG 
MEYERS (b. 1862). H. R. Holsinger included her in his turn-of-the- 
century gallery of "women preachers,"^ describing her as a native 
of Pennsylvania. She joined the German Baptist Church at age six- 
teen and married M. C. Meyers at eighteen. She became a charter 
member of the Jones Mills Brethren Church and was national sec- 


retary of the Sisters' Society of Christian Endeavor for several 
years. In 1896 she organized the Pennsylvania S.S.C.E., served 
most of the period 1896-1900 as state president, and in 1899 be- 
came field secretary for the district organization. She was an ear- 
nest advocate of the temperance cause, a movement endorsed in 
nearly every Brethren conference of the early years.*^ 

(11) ANTONIA WALKER was pastor at Beaconsfield, Iowa, near 
Leon, for at least fifteen years (1902-17).''^ It is assumed that she 
was ordained for, in the years when a special mark signaled unor- 
dained ministers in The Brethren Annual, Antonia Walker was not 
so designated. 

(12) VIANNA DETWILER (d. 1921) was born near Columbiana, 
Ohio, of German Baptist parents who joined the Brethren Church 
when it began. Her family moved when she was fourteen to 
Ridgely, Maryland, on the east side of Chesapeake Bay near Eas- 
ton. There she finished public school and taught for two years, then 
attended the state Normal School, graduating in 1896. Following 
this she went to Washington, D.C., to assist in the Brethren mis- 
sion there, having been baptized in 1895 by I. D. Bowman. It was 
also he who ordained her at Philadelphia in 1901*^ while she was 
president of the Sisters' Society of Christian Endeavor (1898-1905). 
She traveled for the S.S.C.E. during her first year as president, 
then entered Ashland College in 1899 and the University of 
Chicago in 1903. While in Chicago she worked in the Brethren 
mission where Sadie Gibbons had labored a few years earlier. 

Upon completion of her university examinations Miss Detwiler 
left for the Brethren mission in Montreal, Quebec, where she 
served until about 1908 "faithfully but with little results. "*« She re- 
turned to Montreal about 1912 for brief service, then worked at 
other Brethren missions in Pittsburgh (1913), Philadelphia (1914- 
15), and Spokane (1915-16). The Spokane, Washington, work began 
about 1915, and for a year she and a handful of helpers did house- 
to-house visitation, conducted cottage prayer meetings, and led 
Bible study classes. After this a tent meeting led by L. S. Bauman 
resulted in more than fifty converts.^^ In addition to her frequent 
travel and constant ministry, Vianna Detwiler wrote often for The 
Brethren Evangelist, sometimes reporting her activities,^" at other 
times offering devotional thoughts^^ or challenging women to be- 
come more active in the work of the church and its ministry.^^ The 
denomination was stunned by news of her sudden death on October 
29, 1921, following a very brief illness.^^ 

(13) ALICE M. HARLEY (1878-1905), like Mary Bauman, had 
only a brief life to give in her service for Christ. An 1896 graduate 
of Allentown, Pennsylvania, High School, she was baptized by I. D. 
Bowman in the same year. The congregation at Allentown named 


her its first church school superintendent in 1898, and she built it 
in five years into the second largest school of the denomination.^* 
She was ordained a deaconess in 1899 and was chosen to be assis- 
tant pastor in 1901. Although she made several mission tours in 
Pennsylvania on behalf of the S.S.C.E., she declined the offer of the 
presidency in 1903. Her heart was set on the foreign mission field, 
and I. D. Bowman ordained her to the ministry in May 1903.^^ 
Later that year the General Conference endorsed her for the soon- 
to-open work in Persia. But that field never materialized, and Miss 
Harley continued to work in AUentown through 1904 and into 
1905, when she died unexpectedly of a lung ailment on March 3. 
She was twenty-six years old.^^ She wrote occasionally on devo- 
tional or missionary topics,^^ assisted in the care of a large family 
at home, guided the AUentown church school in its outstanding 
growth, and preached almost weekly.^^ 

(14) It has been suggested that ADA GARBER DRUSHAL (1881- 
1975) was ordained to the ministry shortly before she and her hus- 
band George E. Drushal (d. 1958) went to Lost Creek, Kentucky, in 
October 1905 to begin the Brethren mission there.^^ She was re- 
ported together with him as a missionary-evangelist in The Breth- 
ren Annual for 1906-08, after which his name alone appears in the 
ministerial lists. She spent most of her adult life at Lost Creek, 
working as treasurer, bookkeeper, Bible teacher, midwife, under- 
taker, herb-healer, and correspondent. She was an active church 
school teacher until the age of ninety-two and died at ninety-four 
on December 28, 1975.«° 

This may be an appropriate place to introduce the names of four 
women of whom virtually nothing is known at present. (15-16) 
MARGARET AND MARY HOOVER were sisters remembered in 
later years by Brethren antiquarian Freeman H. Ankrum. He re- 
called that the sisters were from the Helser or Ziontown church 
districts of- Perry County, Ohio. "They frequently preached in the 
Berachah church east of Glenford and the Bethel church west of 
Glenford."" (17) MRS. J. B. RICHARD was listed in The Brethren 
Annual for 1906 as the pastor at AUentown, Pennsylvania. (18) 
MRS. T. E. RICHARDS was similarly reported in the Annual for 
1907 through 1910 as pastor with her husband at Bethlehem, 
Pennyslvania. Since neither of these last two was designated as 
unordained in lists where that distinction was made, the assump- 
tion is that both were ordained ministers. 

The Brethren Annual for 1908 introduced the names of two other 
women whose lives proved to be interconnected in ways they did 
not expect. (19) BERTHA MAY BELL was mentioned in the 1908 
ministerial list, but as unordained. The following year she became, 
with Dr. and Mrs. C. F. Yoder, one of the three original Brethren 


missionaries to Argentina. (20) ETTA WARVEL BOWMAN was 
orginally scheduled to be the Yoders' companion, with Miss Bell as 
a fourth party if possible. The lingering terminal illness of Mrs. 
Bowman's father caused her to remain in the United States while 
Miss Bell sailed with the Yoders from New York to Buenos Aires 
by way of Southampton, England, in the summer of 1909. Etta 
Bowman was national president of the Sisters' Society of Christian 
Endeavor in 1906-11, missionary-evangelist at Sidney, Indiana, in 
1908, pastor at Akron, Indiana, in 1909, and appears in the 
ministerial lists for more than twenty years after that (North Man- 
chester, Indiana, 1908-27; Spokane, Washington, 1928-31).^" 
Bertha Bell, after a couple years of work in Argentina, returned to 
the States, and Dr. Yoder later wrote of her, "She was an able 
worker but was hindered by the customs which made it improper 
for a young woman to go about alone. "^^ 

(21) The Brethren Annual for 1909 listed MARGARET A. 
COOKE as pastor of the Cherry Hill church at Indiana, Pennsyl- 
vania. In the following year she was reported as pastor of the 
Brush Valley congregation. Dial, Pennsylvania. During the next 
few years Mrs. Cooke is recorded as serving either or both congre- 
gations until, after 1914, her name appears only in the general 
ministerial list for Pennsylvania through 1920. (22) MRS. P. J. 
JENNINGS also made her first appearance in The Brethren An- 
nual for 1909: she was pastor at Allegheny and Oriskany, Virginia, 
while her husband was pastor at the Bethlehem church, Harrison- 
burg, Virginia. Her name next appears in the 1915 Annual as pas- 
tor at Buena Vista, Virginia, where she remained until 1923, when 
she was reported at Lynchburg, Virginia. In 1917 she submitted to 
The Brethren Evangelist a report of the expanding work at Buena 
Vista which had prospects of requiring enlargement of their church 
school facilities.^'* 

(23) With MAUDE CRIPE WEBB (1886-1976), the Argentine 
mission field re-enters the picture. Having been called by the Mis- 
sionary Board, ratified by the General Conference, and "set aside 
for the work by the laying on of hands, "^^ she sailed to Argentina in 
February-March 1911. Prior to that, her name had appeared in The 
Brethren Annual ministerial lists for 1909 (Groshen, Indiana) and 
1910 (Reliance, Virginia); she was designated as unordained in 
both years. Having arrived in Rio Cuarto, Argentina, she entered 
the work, encountering the same barriers that Bertha Bell had ex- 
perienced shortly before. In the course of her service there Miss 
Cripe met and married Leonard Webb, an Englishman who joined 
her in the work. The pair were greatly loved by all who knew 
them, but he became seriously ill, causing them to move in 1917 to 
Indiana, where he died and she remained to care for their two chil- 


dren. Except for a brief period at Fort Scott, Kansas (1918), Mrs. 
Webb lived at Goshen or Shipshewana Lake, Indiana, until her 
death on January 6, 1976, at the age of eighty-nine.®^ She was ac- 
cepted into membership in the National Brethren Ministerial As- 
sociation in 1939.®^ 

(24) During the period 1914-20 GRACE PRUDENCE FETTERS, 
wife of Pastor Enoch Fetters, was enrolled in the ministerial list of 
The Brethren Annual, first at Columbus, Ohio (1914-17), then at 
New Troy, Michigan (1918-19), and Lapaz, Indiana (1920). 

(25) DR. FLORENCE NEWBERRY GRIBBLE (1880-1942) was a 
figure well known in Brethren missionary annals a generation ago. 
In 1908 Miss Florence Newberry, a physician, sailed for missionary 
service in French Equatorial Africa on the same ship with James 
S. Gribble, a member of the Brethren Church traveling for the 
same purpose. Although James Gribble fell in love with Dr. New- 
berry at once, she wished to remain single in order to pursue her 
work with the Africa Inland Mission, which she did until several 
years later Mr. Gribble overcame her resistance. They were mar- 
ried during the summer of 1913 in Africa, then spent the years 
1914-17 in the United States. The General Conference of 1914 ap- 
proved Africa as a Brethren mission field, and the Gribbles worked 
through most of World War I to raise support for the venture. Prior 
to their return to Africa in January 1918, the 1917 Ohio district 
conference was informed that Dr. Gribble had been ordained to the 
ministry.®^ James Gribble lived only five more years on the African 
field, but Dr. Gribble was listed among the ministers in The Breth- 
ren Annual until the denomination divided in 1939. She continued 
to serve in medical missions until her death in Africa on March 31, 

(26) NORA PEARL BRACKEN DAVIS (1888-1935) was a native 
of Johnstown, Pennyslvania. After teaching school for seven years 
(1904-11), she enrolled at Ashland College, where she began the 
English Divinity course of study. Upon completion of two years she 
then worked another two years in the mission school at Lost Creek, 
Kentucky. Returning to Ashland, she completed the Divinity 
course in 1917 and served in 1917-18 as the pastor at Vandergrift 
Heights, Pennsylvania. She was ordained in October 1919 at the 
Vinco Brethren Church.^° Further studies resulted in her receiving 
the B.A. degree from Ashland College (1921), after which she en- 
tered the Hartford (Connecticut) Seminary Foundation, 
specializing in religious education. She married Daniel R. Davis of 
Johnstown in August 1921, and the two attended North Manches- 
ter (Indiana) College for a brief time. During the years that fol- 
lowed they lived in Johnstown (1924-29), Schwenksville, Pennsyl- 
vania (1930-31), and Ridgely, Maryland (1932-35)— the latter ear- 


lier known as the home of Vianna Detwiler. In the denomination at 
large Nora Bracken Davis was best known as the writer of 
teacher's materials for elementary and junior church school les- 
sons. For this her advanced education, wide reading, and knowl- 
edge of the Greek New Testament served well. She died on July 23, 
1935, at the age of forty-six. ^^ 

(27) Although some workers like Nora Davis traveled rather 
widely, MARY PENCE remained in one place throughout her more 
than twenty years of pastoral ministry. She was ordained in the 
summer of 1919 during a revival at Telford, Tennessee. ^^ From 
1920 through 1940 her name appears in The Brethren Annual 
ministerial list, always with the same address: Limestone, Tennes- 
see, near Johnson City. She wrote occasionally for The Brethren 

(28) EMMA ABOUD (1880-1967) was born in Abey, Lebanon, 
and came to the United States at about the age of fourteen. After 
attending the Nyack Bible College she became affiliated with the 
Brethren Church and was accepted into the National Ministerial 
Association in 1920.^* Her name first appears in the ministerial list 
of the 1923 Brethren Annual (Dayton, Ohio, to about 1927). She 
spent considerable time in evangelistic preaching in Brethren 
churches from coast to coast. She also served as pastor at Mulvane, 
Kansas, in 1940-41 and was church planter for the present congre- 
gation at Carleton, Nebraska. From 1942 to 1963 she lived in Los 
Angeles and Long Beach, California, after which she made her 
home in Philadelphia until her death on July 9, 1967.^^ 

(29) Little is known at present of the ministry of GRACE P. 
SRACK. Having worked in the Kentucky mission, Mrs. Srack was 
called as pastor of the Pleasant Grove, Iowa, church at the begin- 
ning of 1922.^^ After that The Brethren Annual listed her as being 
at North English, Iowa (1923-25), and Lost Creek, Kentucky (1926- 
27). (30) Similarly, EDNA NICHOLAS (d. 1967) of Elkhart, In- 
diana, is not well known in the information currently available. 
The Brethren Annual includes her name in the ministerial lists 
from 1930 through 1967. She was accepted into the National 
Brethren Ministerial Association in 1939" and wrote occasionally 
for The Brethren Evangelist.'^ (31) The name of LAURA 
EVANGELINE LARSON is included in The Brethren Annual list 
of ministers for 1932 through 1935. She went to Argentina as a 
missionary in 1931 (the last one to go in the period 1909-39), where 
she worked in Rio Curato.^^ 

(32) LORETTA CARRITHERS is another ordained Brethren 
woman who worked in a team ministry with her husband. Elmer 
Carrithers was a military chaplain during World War II, while his 
wife Loretta served as a licensed minister in Ohio and Iowa. She 

28 ♦ 

was ordained at Peru, Indiana, in 1948^° and then together with 
her husband pastored the Mansfield, Ohio, Brethren Church fi-om 
about 1949 to 1953. She was accepted into the National Ministerial 
Association in 1949.^^ 

(33) The last woman known to be ordained in the Brethren 
Church was ANNE BLACK, wife of Pastor E. J. Black. Her ordina- 
tion took place at Muncie, Indiana, in 1957,^^ and her name was in- 
cluded in the ministerial lists of The Brethren Annual through 
1959, when she and her husband left the denomination. 

During the quarter-century since 1957, no women were ordained 
in the Brethren Church, but several have served as pastors: (34) 
MARY SPARKS was listed in The Brethren Annual as pastor of 
the Raystown, Pennsylvania, congregation in 1964-66, and (35) 
CORA JEAN BLACK was similarly reported for Mount Pleasant, 
Pennsylvania, in 1965-67. (36) The 1979 and 1980 Brethren Direc- 
tory included Malaysian missionary JENNY LOI in the list of pas- 
tors and elders. At present, two women are licensed ministers in 
the Brethren Church: (37) JENNIFER JONES RAY is co-pastor of 
the Roann, Indiana, congregation in a team ministry with her hus- 
band James, and (38) SUSAN WHITE HYLAND, together with 
her husband Kenneth, has accepted a call to the pastorate of the 
Papago Park Church in Tempe, Arizona. The aspirations of Mrs. 
Ray and Mrs. Hyland are in keeping with a recommendation 
adopted by the 1974 General Conference: "2. Encourage women 
and men to engage in team ministry as ordained persons or as lay 
persons. "^^ 

This article has been only an introduction to the study of Breth- 
ren women in a century of ministry. Much more remains to be 
done. All names, places, and dates given herein are subject to cor- 
rection on the basis of better evidence. Some persons have received 
scant attention in this discussion, not because their ministries 
were unimportant but because little information has been pub- 
lished about them. The writer invites pastors, students, and inter- 
ested church members to join in recovering the story of Brethren 
women who have served in this way. 

Questions of historical explanation and theological interpreta- 
tion wait in the wings for answers: What arguments did the Breth- 
ren use a hundred years ago for and against women in ministry, 
and how do those arguments appear in light of current understand- 
ing? Why did the number of female ministers reach its peak 
around 1915 and then decline? Why have no women been ordained 
in the past quarter-century? What differences, if any, exist be- 
tween ordination to missionary service and ordination for pastoral 

The present study will be rewarded if others take up the intrigue 


that remains. Most of all, the ideals of the Christian gospel will be 
served if some who read this will answer the challenge of the 
ministry for their own lives in the Brethren Church: Century Two. 


'"Ministry" is a biblical concept as large as the church and its member- 
ship; "ministry" is "service." But for ease of understanding, "the ministry" 
is used in this article in the common sense of the church's "official" minis- 
try, i.e., the ordained clergy or those serving as pastors, whether ordained 
or not. 

As an introduction to the subject of Brethren women in ministry, this 
article is based almost entirely on previously published sources. They fall 
into several categories: For the early years, a primary source is the min- 
utes of district and national conferences held by the (Progressive) Breth- 
ren Church, beginning in 1883, published annually in The Brethren An- 
nual. An equally valuable source is [H. R.] Holsinger's History of the Tun- 
kers and the Brethren Church (see note 14, below), which contains consid- 
erable information in its biographical chapter (pp. 642-758). 

For the entire period 1883-1983, the ministerial lists published almost 
every year in The Brethren Annual are valuable. Since they often describe 
the situation in the year prior to publication, a margin of error of at least 
one year must always be assumed. For easier reference, most citations in 
this article are to the publication date. A second source for the entire cen- 
tury is the denomination's periodical, The Brethren Evangelist, which for 
careful research purposes suffers two serious defects: no copies exist in any 
Brethren collection for the years 1889-94, and no complete index is yet 
available. The files of Albert T. Ronk (see notes 40, 48, below), preserved 
at Ashland Theological Seminary, approximate a subject index of the 
paper, as do those of Dale R. Stoffer (see note 59, below), who has gra- 
ciously made his material available to the writer (especially notes 2-6). 

^For example, S. H. Bashor, "Bashor's Reply to Calvert," The Brethren 
Evangelist (hereafter abbreviated S^J) 7 (No. 20, May 20, 1885): 2-3, 6-7; E. 
S. Miller, "Seeing and Hearing," BE 7 (No. 24, June 17, 1885): 1. 

^For example, Edward Mason, "The 'Covering,' " BE 8 (No. 46, Nov. 17, 
1886): 3; A. L. Garber, "Editorial Items," BE 9 (No. 14, Apr. 6, 1887): 4; E. 
L. Yoder, "Paul's Instructions to Women," BE 9 (No. 21, May 25, 1887): 2- 
3; Edward Mason, "The 'Power' of the 'Covering,' " BE 10 (No. 35, Aug. 29, 
1888): 2-3; A. D. Gnagey, "Notes and Comments," BE 18 (No. 26, June 24, 
1896): 1; J. W. Beer, "The Kiss and the Covering," BE 20 (No. 29, July 27, 
1898): 4-5; D. Bailey, "The Prayer Covering: Whence and Wherefore?" BE 
20 (No. 36, Sep. 14, 1898): 4; A. D. Gnagey, "Information Bureau," BE 23 
(No. 4, Jan. 24, 1901): 15; J. L. Gillin, "The Covering in the Corinthian 
Church," BE 23 (No. 21, May 23, 1901): 4-6. 

*For example, C. F. Yoder, "The Deaconess Movement," BE 29 (No. 39, 
Oct. 9, 1907): 4; Mrs. J. Allen Millei, "Deaconesses," BE 30 (No. 34, Sep. 2, 
1908): 6-7; Mrs. J. Allen Miller, "The Brethren Church and the Opportu- 
nity of Her Women," BE 37 (No. 34, Sep. 1, 1915): 6. 


^For example, Lida Calvert Obenchain, "A Fool Notion," BE 25 (No. 39, 
Oct. 7, 1903): 12-13; [C. F. Yoder,] "Editorial Items," BE 26 (No. 41, Oct. 
24, 1906): 1; [C. F. Yoder,] "Progress of a Grood Cause," BE 27 (No. 41, Oct. 
16, 1907): 12. 

Tor example, A. L. Garber, "Paul on Women Preaching," BE 8 (No. 27, 
July 7, 1886): 4; J. W. Beer, "Woman's Work in the Church," BE 10 (No. 
28, July 11, 1888): 4; W. J. H. Bauman, "A Little Friendly Criticism," BE 
10 (No. 28, July 11, 1888): 6; [A. L. Garber,] "Response to Bro. Harrison's 
Farewell," BE 16 (No. 39, Oct. 3, 1894): 11-12; A. D. Gnagey, "Women as 
Ministers," BE 17 (No. 8, Feb. 27, 1895): 11; A. D. Gnagey, "Women and 
the Apostle Paul," BE 21 (No. 34, Oct. 4, 1899): 1; J. L. Gillin, "Women in 
the Churches," BE 23 (No. 26, July 4, 1901): 3-4; L. S. Bauman, "Quaker 
City and Allentown Notes," BE 25 (No. 9, Mar. 4, 1903): 14-15; C. F. 
Yoder, "Gospel Church Government: V," BE 28 (No. 5, Jan. 31, 1906): 10; 
Mrs. L. S. Bauman, "Woman's New Place in the World under Christian- 
ity," BE 30 (No. 50, Dec. 30, 1908): 13-14; J. Allen Miller, "Answers to 
Queries," BE 32 (No. 19, May 11, 1910): 7; Vianna Detwiler, "Woman in 
the Church— Her Place and Work," BE 33 (No. 43, Nov. 8, 1911): 9; Mrs. 
Ellen Lichty [selected from Central Pentecost,] "Shall Women Preach?" BE 
35 (No. 17, Apr. 23, 1913): 5. 

^H. R. Holsinger, "Holsingerisms," BE 17 (No. 23, June 26, 1895): 3. 
Charles R. Munson kindly brought this statement to the attention of the 

^The Brethren Annual, 1891, p. 26. Although the title of this yearbook 
changed slightly through the century, for easier reference it will be cited 
in this article as The Brethren Annual. In recent years it has been at times 
separated into two parts, the Directory containing names and organization 
and the Annual containing minutes and reports. That division will be indi- 
cated and readily identifiable. 

^The Brethren Annual, 1892, p. 23. 
loibid., p. 26. 

"Ibid., p. 130. 

''The Brethren Annual, 1894, p. 24. 

'^The Brethren Annual, 1895, p. 10. In 1899 the editor of The Brethren 
Evangelist wrote, "Years ago, at one of the conferences of the Brethren 
church [sic] held in Pennsylvania, the following resolution was unani- 
mously passed: "Resolved that we encourage worthy young men and 
women in the Brethren church [sic] to enter the Christian ministry' " (A. 
D. Gnagey, "Women and the Apostle Paul," BE 21 (No. 34, Oct. 4, 1899): 1. 
Perhaps the Pennsylvania resolution referred to is one which the writer 
has not been able to find, or Gnagey may have mistakenly thought of the 
Indiana or Ohio resolutions quoted above. 

"[H. R. Holsinger,] Holsinger's History of the Tunkers and the Brethren 
Church (Lathrop, CA: By the author, 1901), p. 735 (hereafter abbreviated 
Holsinger, History). 

'^The Brethren Annual, 1895, p. 18. 

^Tor example, "Impressions of the Hour: Essay for Master's Degree, 
Monongahela College," BE 10 (No. 7, Feb. 15, 1888): 2; "The Silent 


Teacher," BE 10 (No. 20, May 16, 1888): 2; "Elsewhere," BE 10 (No. 31, 
Aug. 1, 1888): 3; "Divine Grov^th," BE 23 (No. 3; Jan. 17, 1901): 8; "Mason- 
town, Pa.," BE 24 (No. 4, Jan. 22, 1902): 13. 

"Holsinger, History, p. 735. 

"F[loyd] Sibert, "A Pastor's Tribute," BE 55 (No. 32, Aug. 19, 1933): 14. 

^^Homer A. Kent, Sr., Conquering Frontiers: A History of The Brethren 
Church (The National Fellowship of Brethren Churches), revised ed. 
(Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1972), p. 121. 

^"Freeman H. Ankriun, "Laura Grossnickle Hedrick: Part One," BE 79 
(No. 23, June 8, 1957): 5. 

^^Reprinted in The Brethren Annual, 1892, pp. 38-43. 

^''The Brethren Annual, 1892, p. 43. 

=«Ibid., p. 118. 

^The Brethren Annual, 1894, p. 45. 

^^The Brethren Annual, 1892, p. 113. 

''^For example, "Follow Me," BE 9 (No. 42, Oct. 19, 1887): 2; "Behold the 
Lamb of God," BE 9 (No. 45, Nov. 9, 1887): 2; "Christ's Compassion," BE 
10 (No. 11, Mar. 14, 1888): 6; "Thoughts as Given to S.S.C.E.," BE 11 (No. 
17, Apr. 24, 1889): 6; "What Think Ye of Christ?" BE 16 (No. 19, May 9, 
1894): 4-7; "Heaven," BE 28 (No. 15, Aug. 11, 1906): 4; "The Sisters' Soci- 
ety of Christian Endeavor," BE 31 (No. 25, June 30, 1909): 4-5. 

^^The Brethren Annual, 1896, p. 7. 

2«Freeman H. Ankrum, "Laura Grossnickle Hedrick," BE 79 (No. 23, 
June 8, 1957): 4-5, 7, and BE 79 (No. 28, July 13, 1957): 4-6. 

^^The Brethren Annual, 1894, p. 67. 

^'>The Brethren Annual, 1895, p. 41; A. D. Gnagey, "Sister Dickey's With- 
drawal," BE 16 (No. 48, Dec. 12, 1894): 8-9, containing a letter from Mrs. 
Dickey and comment by editor Gnagey. 

^^Holsinger, History, p. 670. 

^^Ibid., p. 672. 

^"The Brethren Annual, 1898, p. 13; 1899, p. 29. 

^"[C. F. Yoder,] "Work and Workers," BE 26 (No. 46, Nov. 30, 1904): 10. 

^^Holsinger, History, pp. 554-55. 

^«Ibid., pp. 573-74; [C. F. Yoder,] "Missions and Missionaries," BE 26 
(No. 1, Jan. 6, 1904): 4. 

^^See also her articles "Three Sisters," BE 16 (No. 13, Mar. 28, 1894): 5- 
6; "Shadows," BE 20 (No. 34, Aug. 31, 1898): 2; "Heaven," BE 28 (No. 15, 
Apr. 11, 1906): 4; "How Awaken a More Extensive Missionary Zeal among 
our Women," BE 36 (No. 8, Feb. 25, 1914): 6. 

^^Holsinger, History, p. 644. 



''"Albert T. Ronk, History of the Brethren Church: Its Life, Thought, Mis- 
sion (Ashland, OH: Brethren Publishing Company, 1968), pp. 263-64. 

^"Giving Enriches the Giver," BE 20 (No. 37, Sep. 21, 1898): 4; "Chris- 
tian Growth," BE 22 (No. 12, Mar. 22, 1900): 9; "Woman's New Place in 
the World under Christianity," BE 30 (No. 50, Dec. 30, 1908): 13-14; "Loy- 
alty to the Holy Spirit," BE 31 (No. 45, Dec. 1, 1909): 4-5. 

''^^See the memorial by H. L. Qoughnour, BE 31 (No. 36, Sep. 29, 1909): 

"^Holsinger, History, p. 562; The Brethren Annual, 1914, p. 32. 

^At present, Holsinger's inclusion of her photograph in the group he 
called "women preachers" (Holsinger, History, p. 699) is the only evidence 
for her official ministerial status among the Brethren. 

*®Holsinger, History, p. 701. See her article "Women and the Temperance 
Cause," BE 30 (No. 16, Apr. 22, 1908): 5. 

*^The Brethren Annual, 1903-18. References to this minister present the 
student of history with major problems, for she is listed as Antonia 
Walker/Wanker of Beaconsfield/Beaconsville, Illinois/Iowa! Her name is 
spelled Walker more frequently than Wanker. The writer has been unable 
to locate a Beaconsville in either Illinois or Iowa, but near Leon, Iowa, 
where the Brethren had a congregation for many years, there is the vil- 
lage of Beaconsfield; hence the idenification given in the text. 

n. D. Bowman, "Philadelphia, Pa.," BE 23 (No. 45, Nov. 21, 1901): 11- 

^Albert T. Ronk, History of Brethren Missionary Movements (Ashland, 
OH: Brethren Publishing Company, 1971), p. 35. 

*^Ibid., p. 37. 

^"For example, her report on the Ridgely congregation, BE 21 (No. 7, 
Feb. 15, 1900): 13; "Letter from the President," BE 25 (No. 24, June 24, 
1903): 8. 

^^"St. John," BE 23 (No. 6, Feb. 7, 1901): 5-6; "How to Realize the 
Friendship of Jesus," BE 36 (No. 13, Apr. 1, 1914): 4-5; "Am I an Interces- 
sor?" BE 43 (No. 17, Apr. 27, 1921): 5-6. 

^^"Woman and the Church," BE 30 (No. 16, Apr. 22, 1908): 3; "Woman in 
the Church— Her Place and Work," BE 33 (No. 43, Nov. 8, 1911): 9. 

'^See the reports and tribute in BE 43 (No. 46, Nov. 30, 1921): 15; BE 43 
(No. 48, Dec. 14, 1921): 14. 

^L. S. Bauman, "Alice M. Harley," BE 27 (No. 12, Mar. 22, 1905): 15. 

^^saac D. Bowman, "Philadelphia, Pa.," BE 23 (No. 45, Nov. 21, 1901): 

=«[C. F. Yoder,] "Miss Alice Harley Called to Persia," BE 25 (No. 35, Sep. 
9, 1903): 11; [C. F. Yoder,] "Work and Workers," BE 27 (No. 11, Mar. 15, 
1905): 10; Q. R. Musselman, "Alice Harley," BE 27 (No. 11, Mar. 15, 1905): 
15; "An Open Letter from I. D. Bowman to Brother Harley and Family," 


BE 27 (No. 11, Mar. 15, 1905): 15; L. S. Bauman, "Alice M. Harley," BE 27 
(No. 12, Mar. 22, 1905): 14-15. 

^^"The Conditions of True Spiritual Growth," BE 21 (No. 41, Oct. 19, 
1899): 9; "Qualifications of the Foreign Worker," BE 24 (No. 45, Nov. 12, 
1902): 9-10. 

^«[C. F. Yoder,] "Miss Alice Harley Called to Persia," BE 25 (No. 35, Sep. 

9, 1903): 11. 

*^Dale R. Stoffer, "The Background and Development of Thought and 
Practice in the German Baptist Brethren (Dunker) and The Brethren (Pro- 
gressive) Churches (c. 1650-1979)" (Ph.D. dissertation. Fuller Theological 
Seminary, 1980), p. 536. 

^^Harold E. Barnett, "In Memory of Mrs. Ada Garber Drushal," BE 98 
(No. 3, March 1976): 23. 

^'Freeman H. Ankrum, "Laura Grossnickle Hedrick: Part One," BE 79 
(No. 23, June 8, 1957): 7. 

^''L. S. Bauman, "Field Secretary's Notes," BE 31 (No. 6, Feb. 10, 1909): 
15; Ronk, History of Brethren Missionary Movements, pp. 62-66. 

^^Charles F. Yoder, The Argentine Mission Field (Ashland, OH: Brethren 
Publishing Company, 1930), p. 124. 

^[R. R. Teeter,] "Review of the Thought and Work of the Church," BE 39 
(No. 5, Jan. 31, 1917): 8. Her report follows on pp. 12-13. 

®^Ronk, History of Brethren Missionary Movements, p. 65. 

««See notice of her death, BE 98 (No. 3, March 1976): 24. 

^'The Brethren Annual, 1940, p. 21. 

««[R. R. Teeter,] "News from the Field," BE 40 (No. 26, July 10, 1918): 

10. The Ohio Ministerial Examining Board consisted of A. D. Gnagey, J. 
Allen Miller, and W. C. Teeter. 

^^Orville D. Jobson, Conquering Oubangui-Chari for Christ (Winona 
Lake, IN: Brethren Missionary Herald Company, 1957), p. 97. 

^"Mrs. Davis's granddaughter, Patricia Pyne, has generously made avail- 
able her grandmother's ordination certificate as evidence of this. 

"See Charles A. Bame, "Nora Bracken Davis: An Appreciation," BE 57 
(No. 31, Aug. 10, 1935): 11-12, together with a tribute by her husband in 
the same place. Patricia Pyne (see preceding note) also furnished the writ- 
er with an undated newspaper obituary. The three accounts do not agree, 
and so the writer has attempted a conjectural reconstruction which will 
present as few contradictions as possible. 

^^G. C. Carpenter, "Kentucky Mission Notes," BE 41 (No. 26, July 2, 
1919): 12. 

"For example, "Jesus of Yesterday, Today and Forever," BE 42 (No. 7, 
Feb. 18, 1920): 8; "The Epitaph at Christ's Tomb," BE 42 (No. 13, Mar. 31, 
1920): 7. 

'*The Brethren Annual, 1921, p. 3. 


^^Robert Keplinger, "Rev. Emma Aboud Passes Away," BE 89 (No. 17, 
Aug. 19, 1967): 25; The Brethren Annual, 1967-68, p. 33. 

^«[G. S. Baer,] "Editorial Review," BE 43 (No. 43, Nov. 9, 1921): 3. See 
also her article "An Opportunity, A Vision, A Duty," BE 43 (No. 43, Nov. 
9, 1921): 7. 

''The Brethren Annual, 1940, p. 21. 

^«For example, "The All-Sufficiency of God's Grace," BE 52 (No. 14, Apr. 
5, 1930): 6; "The Sustaining Power of Faith," BE 78 (No. 34, Sep. 1, 1956): 

'^Ronk, History of Brethren Missionary Movements, p. 66. 

^[F. C. Vanator,] "Loretta Carrithers Ordained to Full Gospel Ministry," 
BE 71 (No. 4, Jan. 22, 1949): 8. The ordination service was conducted by J. 
Milton Bowman, Willis E. Ronk, and Claud Studebaker. 

"TAe Brethren Annual, 1949-50, p. 19. See her article "A Little Child 
Shall Lead Them," BE 70 (No. 14, Apr. 3, 1948): 4. Beginning in The 
Brethren Annual for 1973, Loretta Carrithers was erroneously listed in 
such a manner as to make readers unaware of her status as an ordained 
minister. After 1976 her name did not appear at all, but the writer under- 
stands that she continues to be a member in good standing of the National 
Brethren Ministerial Association. 

^''[W. S. Benshoff,] "Mrs. Anne Black Ordained on Easter Sunday," BE 
79 (No. 28, July 13, 1957): 13. The ordination service was conducted by 
Henry Bates, E. J. Black, and Arthur H. Tinkel, Sr. 

^^The Brethren Annual, 1974, p. 26. The action came as a recommenda- 
tion from the moderator, Paul D. Steiner, and subsequently was endorsed 
by the Executive Committee and adopted by the General Conference. Wil- 
liam Kerner kindly brought this item to the attention of the writer. 


Progressivism — A Definition 

by Dale R. Stoffer 

In any movement the original ideals on which it was based are 
gradually forgotten or watered down by the passage of time. Slo- 
gans and platforms which had a crisp, assertive ring become trite 
and stale. The centennial year of The Brethren Church provides an 
occasion to reexamine the convictions which caused six thousand 
men and women to leave or be expelled from the German Baptist 
Brethren Church (the present-day Church of the Brethren) and 
begin a new denomination. The purpose of this article is fourfold: 
(1) to give a historical overview of the events that led to the forma- 
tion of The Brethren Church; (2) to look briefly at the areas of con- 
tention among the various factions in the German Baptist Breth- 
ren Church; (3) to distill the basic principles which gave the Pro- 
gressive movement its distinctive character; and (4) to offer a defi- 
nition and evaluation of Progressivism. 

Historical Overview 

It is necessary to return to the early 1800s to provide a founda- 
tion for understanding the Progressive movement. Until the 1830s 
the Brethren^ had generally been insulated from the influences of 
American society. Three factors in particular made this insulation 
possible: the retention of their German language and subculture 
during the early decades of the 1800s; the tendency of the agricul- 
turally minded Brethren to migrate westward, frequently in 
groups, in search of better and cheaper land; the strong religious 
principles of simplicity and separation from the world. By the 
1840s, however, English had become the predominant language 
among the Brethren and their enclaves were increasingly being 
surrounded by American culture. The Brethren were forced to 
come to terms with the fast-changing, materialistic society of the 
new world. 

Initially the Brethren sought to "fence out" the influences of 
American culture through the decisions of Annual Meeting.^ Rul- 
ings were rendered on everything from life insurance to flowered 
wallpaper. During the 1850s, however, men like Henry Kurtz, 
James Quinter, and John Kline began advocating the use of mod- 
ern practices — periodical literature, Sunday Schools, higher educa- 
tion, evangelism — to aid the church in its mission. 

During the 1860s and '70s three distinct positions gradually 

36 » 

evolved in response to the acculturation process. The left wing, 
known as the Progressives, sought to "keep pace with the times." 
Led by Henry Ritz Holsinger, it advocated the use of any practice 
that would contribute to the mission of the church. 

The right wing, known as the Old German Baptist Brethren or 
"Old Order," saw these "innovations" as entirely worldly and a de- 
parture from biblical Christianity. Guided by Peter Nead and his 
son-in-law, Samuel Kinsey, the Old Orders desired to "maintain 
the ancient order of the Brethren." 

The largest group, the conservatives (the present Church of the 
Brethren), sought a middle ground. They were willing to see 
change, but it had to be gradual. For such men as R. H. Miller, 
James Quinter, and J. H. Moore, the unity of the main part of the 
church was more important than either progression or the old 

The dissension created in the church by these three positions led 
to the emergence of two new denominations between 1881 and 
1883. The Old German Baptist Brethren withdrew from the main 
body of the church in 1881 while the Progressive leaders who 
founded The Brethren Church in 1883 in Dayton, Ohio were for the 
most part expelled from the church. 

Issues Contributing to the Division 

There were seven main issues that formed the battleground 
among these three groups.^ Consideration of these issues will help 
to clarify the distinctive position of each group. Periodical litera- 
ture was the first source of friction. In 1851 Henry Kurtz, a leading 
elder in the church who probably would have considered himself a 
Conservative (he died before the divisions), felt the time was ripe 
for a monthly publication to serve the interests of the denomina- 
tion. He therefore began the Gospel Visitor in April as a means of 
fostering unity in the widely scattered Brotherhood and of resolv- 
ing doctrinal and practical problems.^ In addition he hoped that the 
Visitor would have apologetic value by promoting ideals and prin- 
ciples distinctive to the Brethren. 

In 1865 Henry Holsinger, a former apprentice of Kurtz,^ began 
the second paper aimed at a Brethren clientele, the Christian 
Family Companion. This paper presented a marked contrast to 
the moderately progressive Visitor. Holsinger was more forceful in 
advocating progressive practices and designed his periodical as an 
"open forum" in which writers could express their opinions freely 
on a whole range of controversial topics with little editorial com- 
ment. In 1873 increasing opposition from Annual Meeting caused 
Holsinger to sell the paper to James Quinter who had succeeded 


Kurtz as editor of the Visitor. Holsinger continued to feel, however, 
that the Progressive movement needed a stronger voice so in 1878 
he reentered the publishing field with a weekly. The Progressive 
Christian. From this point on Holsinger became the catalyst for the 
Progressive wing of the church while The Progressive Christian be- 
came its mouthpiece. 

The Old Order Brethren felt compelled, amidst this chorus of 
progressive voices, to publish their own journal, The Vindicator, in 
1870. These periodicals played a central role in the controversies 
by keeping attention focused on the major issues and by populariz- 
ing the disputes related to these issues. 

The second area of controversy related to education. Tradition- 
ally the Brethren had felt that a "common school" education sup- 
plied all necessary skills. All higher education — high school and 
college — was deemed a worldly endeavor which tended to lead 
youth astray and inculcate a spirit of pride. This was the Old Order 
position.® Beginning in 1856, however, James Quinter, through the 
Visitor, led the movement for acceptance of Brethren related high 
schools and colleges. He argued among other things that such 
training would meet the necessary requirements for serving as 
school teachers, thereby ensuring that Brethren teachers could 
bring moral and religious values into public education; Brethren 
schools would provide a Christian influence lacking in most in- 
stitutions for those youth set on obtaining advanced education; the 
church could better preserve her youth if such schools were avail- 
able. Though the 1858 Annual Meeting accepted the concept of 
Brethren-related schools provided they were "an individual enter- 
prise" founded on "gospel principles," a long string of failures oc- 
curred before the first schools were established which would stand 
the test of time: Juniata College (1876), Ashland College (1878), 
and Mount Morris Seminary and Collegiate Institute (1879; in 
1932 it merged with Manchester College). 

A third battleground involved evangelism. After the cooling of 
the evangelistic zeal of the early Brethren, very little effort was 
made to evangelize non-Christian neighbors. The Brethren instead 
relied on a "passive evangelism" which was content to wait for 
people to apply to the church for membership. In the 1860s, how- 
ever, men like John Kline, D. P. Saylor, James Quinter, and H. R. 
Holsinger began to call for the establishment of a definite plan of 
evangelism. It was not until 1880, however, with the establishment 
of a Domestic and Foreign Mission Board that any organized ap- 
proach to home mission work became a reality. Nevertheless, dur- 
ing the 1870s the Progressives, led by Stephen H. Bashor, were 
very active in evangelism, especially of the revivalistic type. The 
Old Order Brethren focused their criticism on the revivalistic 


methods of the Progressives. These included utihzing protracted 
meetings (a series of meetings with preaching designed to lead to 
conversion and baptism), signing revival hymns, presenting invita- 
tions to rise or come forward, and inducing emotional decisions 
without stressing the need to "count the cost." 

A fourth area of conflict related to the above concern. As interest 
in evangelism increased in the 1860s and '70s pressure for a paid 
(or subsidized) ministry also grew. Progressives and some Conser- 
vatives felt that the families of traveling evangelists should be 
cared for. The Old Order Brethren were firmly committed to the 
traditional free ministry and feared a paid minister would be more 
likely to preach what his congregation wanted to hear. 

The fifth point of controversy was Sunday Schools. Jame Quinter 
through the Visitor in 1858 and 1859 advocated that Sunday 
Schools be established as a means of supplementing parental in- 
struction and teaching by the ministry. The Old Orders viewed 
Sunday Schools as a popular innovation which would reduce the 
control that parents had over the Christian education of their chil- 
dren. A further area of contention was Sunday School conventions. 
Appearing among the Brethren by 1876, these district-wide gather- 
ings involved lectures and workshops relating to various aspects of 
the Sunday School. The Progressives heartily supported these 
gatherings but the Conservatives joined the Old Orders in opposing 

Dress was the sixth issue in the controversy. The Old Order 
Brethren felt that in submitting to the traditional plain dress of 
the Brethren^ one demonstrated a spirit yielded to the traditional 
Brethren principles of humility, nonconformity, simplicity, and 
modesty. They desired uniformity in dress and urged that Annual 
Meeting take an active role in maintaining the old order of dress. 
The Progressives, however, felt that individual conscience should 
determine how one should apply the principle of non-conformity. 
They held that mandatory uniformity destroys that vital spirit of 
inner obedience which is at the heart of the Christian life. The 
Conservatives sought to find a middle ground. On one hand, they 
were averse to the itemization and detailing of the order of dress 
but, on the other, they wanted to guard against the notion that 
harmony and unity even in outward things is immaterial. They 
sought to balance respect for the traditions of the elders with open- 
ness, in the contemporary setting, to the guidance of the Spirit of 

The final area of conflict and one which caused great dissension 
was the question of the mode of feetwashing.^ The Old Order 
Brethren practiced a form in which one person would wash con- 
secutively the feet of several people while another followed and 


wiped their feet (the double mode). Since the vast majority of 
churches around 1860 utiUzed this mode, the Old Order Brethren 
fought hard for uniformity in practice. The Progressives, however, 
sought the freedom to practice a form in which one person both 
washes and wipes the feet of another (the single mode). Holding 
this to be the earliest form of feetwashing, they desired forbearance 
on the issue. Eventually both the Progressives and Conservatives 
adopted this latter mode of feetwashing. 

Though the issues catalogued above were the most visible 
sources of conflict among the Old Orders, Conservatives, and Pro- 
gressives, there was another set of differences which was, in real- 
ity, the underlying cause of tension. It is to these foundational dif- 
ferences that we must now look. 

The Platforms of the Parties 

A definition of Progressivism becomes possible only when the 
platforms of both the Old Order Brethren and Conservatives are 
also understood. F. Ernest Stoeffler has rightly observed that ". . . 
the ethos of a group can best be presented [and discerned] if the lat- 
ter fights vigorously against some real or imagined enemy . . . ."^ 
The polemical writings which come from the period between 1865 
and 1883 provide ample material to distill at least three fundamen- 
tal issues out of which the other more visible differences arose. 
These issues consisted of the questions of polity, the authorities 
used for determining faith and practice, and the attitude toward 
adaptation to the world. 

As was noted earlier the Brethren sought initially to come to 
terms with the surrounding American culture by turning to 
Annual Meeting for rulings on a wide variety of issues. The num- 
ber of issues coming before Annual Meeting forced the church 
to seek more efficient and effective means of organization. Between 
1847 and 1868 a number of changes were made in Annual Meet- 
ing which gave it far more authority in determining the course 
of the church.^" One of these changes is especially noteworthy. 
Very early in the history of Annual Meeting the practice arose 
for the host church to select five or more respected elders who 
would present answers to the questions brought to the gather- 
ing. This group gradually evolved into the Standing Committee 
of Annual Meeting. By 1868 it had taken final form. Only elders 
could serve on the committee which was composed of men elected 
from the various districts. This committee had considerable 
power for not only did it decide what business came before Annual 
Meeting but it also framed the responses to the questions brought 
to the gathering (the responses did have to be accepted by the 


delegates, however). Because there was very httle change in 
this committee from year to year, a small group of Conservative 
elders held considerable power over the direction of the denomi- 

Both the Old Orders and the Progressives were disenchanted by 
this growing institutionalization in the church. In a petition sub- 
mitted to Annual Meeting in 1869, the Old Order Brethren cried 
for greater simplicity in the organization of Annual Meeting. They 
singled out for criticism the selection of a certain portion of the 
Standing Committee from each state (as opposed to selecting the 
committee from all the elders present), the appointment of a 
"human moderator" (rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to be the 
guide or moderator for the committee's discussions), and the prac- 
tice of listing all the members of the Standing Committee in the 
minutes. The Old Orders felt that, besides creating a barrier to the 
movement of the Holy Spirit, these practices tended both to "ele- 
vate and exalt the mind" and to concentrate "too much [power] in 
the hands of a few." Also criticized was the power recently assumed 
by Annual Meeting of sending committees to various churches 
where difficulties were present. The Old Orders preferred the older 
practice of settling such difficulties — the local church should call in 
elders from the adjoining districts to help resolve the problem. 
Only when a local issue remained unsettled or in cases where the 
ordinances or doctrines of the church were involved should the rul- 
ing of Annual Meeting be sought." Annual Meeting decisions on 
the ordinances and doctrine should be uniformally observed in all 
local churches. After the Old Orders reorganized following their 
withdrawal from the Conservatives, they also repudiated district 
organizations and meetings. ^^ 

The Progressives, like the Old Orders, objected to the prerogative 
assumed by Annual Meeting of sending committees to local congre- 
gations. The Progressives, the most congregational of any of the 
groups, felt such a practice was a violation of the rights of the indi- 
vidual congregation. Though they maintained that in matters of 
doctrine "the church of Christ should universally harmonize," they 
upheld the right of local congregations to decide questions of "gov- 
ernment and custom."^^ All decisions of Annual Meeting for which 
there was no Gospel precept should be considered advisory only. 
The Progressives maintained that they were following the tradi- 
tional Brethren understanding of these decisions and cited for addi- 
tional support the testimony of such a departed statesman as John 
Kline. ^"^ The importance of District and Annual Conferences was 
recognized but it was felt that they should be held primarily "for 
social advantages, and for consultation upon general methods of 
church work, and to beget a unity and concert of action in all im- 


portant matters. "^^ The Progressives were also critical of the in- 
creasing authority of the Standing Committee because it "made 
bishops separate and superior to the body and authority of the 
church, whereas the gospel declares them servants of the church."^^ 
Though there was some disagreement among the Conservatives 
concerning what authority the decisions of Annual Meeting should 
have, the view that these decisions should be mandatory had 
gained the ascendancy by 1882. This year it was decided that all 
queries should be decided according to Scripture 

where there is anything direct . . . applying to the questions. And 
all questions to which there is no direct expressed Scripture ap- 
plying, it shall be decided according to the spirit and meaning of 
the Scripture. And that decision shall be mandatory to all 
churches having such cases as the decision covers. And all who 
shall not so heed and observe it shall be held as not hearing the 
church, and shall be dealt with accordingly." 

Such was the protest against this minute that it was modified the 
next year by the statement that this "decision shall not be so con- 
strued as to prevent the Annual Meeting from giving advice when 
it deems it proper to do so, and that given advice, shall be so en- 
tered upon the minutes. ^^ These developments clearly indicate that 
the Conservatives felt that the unity in faith and practice of the 
total community must have precedence over the liberty of the indi- 
vidual member or church. R. H. Miller gives expression to this con- 

Uniformity is but one of many peculiarities that separates God's 
people from the world. One by one they may all be taken out of 
the way and every form that manifests the Christian spirit of 
humility and strict obedience, be supplanted by forms that man- 
ifest the flesh. This is one thing that Congregationalism has never 
failed to do. . . . When a single congregation assumes the right to 
decide, — it assumes the right to change, and it changes to suit it- 
self without regard to the judgment of the Brotherhood, or the 
feelings of adjoining congregations . . . .^^ 

The second fundamental difference among the three factions con- 
cerned the question of what authorities should be used for deter- 
mining Brethren faith and practice. The position of the Old Order 
Brethren on this question is succinctly stated by the standard 
which Samuel Kinsey adopted for the Vindicator and which ap- 
peared on the title page of every issue: they sought obedience to 
"the ancient order, and self-denying principles of the church, as 
taught by the Savior and held forth by the early fathers of our 
Fraternity." The Old Order Brethren followed Peter Nead in hold- 
ing that 


Where the testament is silent on the order or mode of observance 
[of the ordinances], the brethren, by whom God organized the 
church, were clothed with authority to say in what way the com- 
mandments or institutions of his house are to be practiced.^" 

Between the gospel and the ancient order of the Brethren, the Old 
Orders had a tightly knit and unified framework which they felt 
constrained to preserve in the face of a worldly culture and cor- 
rupted Christianity. They therefore felt that Annual Meeting 
should serve primarily as a conservator of the established order. 
Along these lines Samuel Kinsey writes: 

It never was the object of the Annual Meeting — neither has she a 
right — to sanction new rules and orders, and to instill new princi- 
ples, but rather to see that the established rules and old principles 
be preserved; that all preach the same and practice the same; and, 
that thus offenses, a variety of practices and divisions, be warded 
off, and the sweet harmony, peace, love and purity of the church 
be maintained.^^ 

The Progressives were in agreement that Gospel explicits must 
be observed but differed with both Old Orders and Conservatives 
about practices on which Scripture is silent. Holsinger addresses 
this issue. 

We are in perfect accord with the practice of the church in its ad- 
ministration of the ordinances of the Gospel. So far as we have 
plain instructions in God's word as to how we should proceed, we 
believe it is well that we should have vmiformity; but when the 
Scriptures are not definite, no such regularity is required. The 
Scriptures must be the basis of our uniformity. Our methods of 
bringing about a uniformity differs from some of our brethren in 
this wise: They have adopted an order or custom which obtained 
by accident or otherwise among their predecessors, we by teach- 
ing the gospel, inculcating scriptural sentiments upon all points, 
and the aggregation of effects thus brought about is our unifor- 

The Progresives charged that, by stressing the "order of the Breth- 
ren," the Conservatives and the Old Orders especially were major- 
ing on "externals" and neglecting "the weightier matters of the law 
of God." The Progressives held that the ancient customs of the 
church should be respected,^^ and they even maintained at the time 
of the split that they were "the only true conservators and per- 
petuators of the brotherhood and its original doctrines and princi- 
ples."^* Yet they felt that no tradition, including their own, could 
be elevated to a position in which it could not be scrutinized by the 
touchstone of the gospel. 

The Conservatives sought a middle way between these two posi- 
tions. Though emphasizing that the Bible must be the only rule of 
faith and practice, the Conservatives placed a great deal of respect 


in the "councils of the ancient Brethren." Note how J. H. Moore 
deals with the issue. 

There are two extremes in . . . [this] matter, each one equally 
dangerous. The one consists in ignoring and positively rejecting 
everj^hing done, and recognized by those of former years, and the 
other is to claim that those who lived just before our time were, in 
some way, so influenced by the Holy Spirit, that what they did 
was right, and, therefore, we dare not set aside or alter their deci- 
sions on any point. 

The actions of our ancient Brethren were not inspired in any di- 
vine sense, but were simply the result of their best judgment and 
careful reading, and should be respected by us only as they har- 
monize with the "thus saith the Lord" and the general tenor of the 
Gospel. ^^ 

The Conservatives thus combined belief in the priority of Scripture 
with a high regard for, yet a willingness to change, the received 
order. ^^ 

A third basic point of contention was their respective attitudes 
toward the acceptance of new practices. A number of factors actu- 
ally come into play on this point — ^both of the preceding differences 
(polity and sources of authority) and also the factor of accultura- 
tion, that is, whether and how fast the church should become a part 
of the outside religious and cultural world. The Old Orders showed 
rigid opposition to any kind of acculturation (though they have 
softened somewhat on this point), rejecting higher education, Sun- 
day schools, revival meetings, etc. as "innovations" and seeking to 
conserve the order of the church as they knew it. The Progressives 
were the most open to the outside secular and religious world, 
earning themselves the label, "the fast element." They accepted 
new practices if they were not contrary to the gospel and contrib- 
uted to the mission of the church. Holsinger clearly expresses the 
Progressive position: 

. . . The Progressive Christian will advocate an onward movement 
by the use of all lawful and expedient means. We hold it our duty 
to keep pace with the times. And we mean what we say, an on- 
ward movement, and not a backward movement. . . . 

By keeping pace with the times, we have more direct reference 
to the using of such improvements as the advancements of science 
and art may introduce, for the promulgation of the religion of 
Christ. . . . 

. . . And we would keep up, fully up, and not a year or twenty- 
five years behind the times, as the Brethren have been all along 
in most things, such as newspapers, colleges, Sunday Schools, and 
the like. 

And again; we believe in keeping pace with the times in mat- 
ters outside of religion.^^ 

Practically, this was the essence of progressivism to the Progres- 


sives. Yet the term "progressive" also had a spiritual meaning 
which was accepted by both Progressives and Conservatives. To be 
progressive in a spiritual sense meant advancement, development, 
or progression in Christian maturity and truth. The Conservatives, 
however, were much more careful to distinguish between a Chris- 
tian and non-Christian form of progression. 

A "Progressive Christian" is one who is approaching still nearer 
to the Bible — one who is moving toward the Bible and away from 
the world. . . . Progression is all right ... if it makes people more 
humble, more honest, more consistent and more obedient to every 
part of God's Word . . . ; but if it makes them high-minded, self- 
willed, proud, boastful, and disobedient to the Bible and the 
church, it follows that there may be considerable progression, but 
very little Christianity.^ 

The Conservatives tried to steer a middle course between the Old 
Orders and Progressives on this issue of adiaphora as they did on 
others. They were willing to see change but it could not be at the 
expense of the unity of the main body of the church. Though the 
Conservatives sought to maintain a balance between both positions 
in the 1870s, the rigid position of the Old Orders and the constant 
agitation of the Progressives created a reluctant willingness among 
the Conservatives by the early 1880s to see both factions removed 
for the sake of harmony in the church. 

A Definition and Evaluation of Progressivism 

As can be seen by the above, progressivism had a variety of 
facets which combined to give it its distinctive character. One facet 
was sociological. As the gap between the established order of the 
Brethren and American culture widened, pressure from those who 
wanted to take advantage of what the modem world could offer the 
church grew proportionately. Progressives therefore utilized con- 
stant agitation through the periodicals, in the local churches, and 
at Annual Meeting to gain support for their agenda of reforms. In 
addition, the Progressives desired to be able to speak to the con- 
temporary world. They were not content with the passive 
evangelism of the Old Orders. They were convinced that 
evangelism would be far more effective if the Brethren were on an 
equal footing with the modem man and woman. This is why educa- 
tion became such an important part of the Progressive platform.^^ 

A second facet was theological. The Progressives recognized that 
the Christian faith was dependent on the joint ministry of the Holy 
Spirit and the Word of God. They saw the ministry of both being 
encumbered by the increasing formalism represented by the deci- 
sions of Annual Meeting. The Progressives maintained that it is 
the Spirit who gives life and vitality to the outward practices and 


forms of the church. Legalizing the "order of the Brethren" through 
the decisions of Annual Meeting effectively limited the Spirit's 
work to a single form which lacked divine authorization.^" Only 
those doctrines and forms having Scriptural authority should be 
made mandatory; all other forms are advisory and to make them a 
test of fellowship is an addition to the Gospel. The two slogans 
which punctuated Progressive writings bear out their position: 
"The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible" and "In es- 
sentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity." 

Thirdly the Progressives viewed their work as a return to the 
ideals of the early Brethren. They frequently stated that they were 
the true conservators of the Brethren heritage. In this sense then 
the Progressives were a reform movement. 

These elements of progressivism can be distilled into the follow- 
ing definition. Progressivism was a reform movement in the Ger- 
man Baptist Brethren Church in the latter half of the 1800s which 
sought to be culturally up to date in utilizing any cultural practice 
which would aid the church in its mission and in adapting to mod- 
em customs insofar as they might enable the church to more effec- 
tively share the Gospel in the contemporary setting. It rejected the 
concept of mandatory uniformity in external matters not specific- 
ally addressed in Scripture, seeing such a practice as a human ad- 
dition to the Gospel and a limitation to the work of the Holy Spirit. 
It sought to balance fidelity to the unchanging creed of Scripture 
with the need to declare and model that creed through the Spirit's 
leading within the context of an ever-changing world. 

As with any reform movement there is the danger of overreact- 
ing to the opposite extreme. In the hundred years since the found- 
ing of The Brethren Church it is possible to discern several areas 
in which the Progressives reacted to an extreme. In both their 
theology of conversion and their polity the Progressives accen- 
tuated the individual at the expense of the community. With the 
acceptance of revivalism, the Progressives were influenced by a 
movement which tended to subserve the interests of the corporate 
community to those of the individual. Corporate worship was or- 
ganized in such a way as to lead the sinner to Christ or revive the 
faith of the believer. As a result, the corporate commitment found 
in the early Brethren synthesis of Anabaptism and Pietism (which 
pointed the individual to the community) was severely weakened.^^ 

In their polity the Progressives showed an excessive individual- 
ity in emphasizing the advisory nature of all decisions at the dis- 
trict and national levels as opposed to taking responsibility freely 
for these decisions made by the representatives of local churches. 
The bias against the larger, denominational identity of the church 
is evidenced in the facts that between 1883 and 1892 only three 

46 « 

Greneral Conferences were held and that during the same period 
Ashland College and the Brethren Publishing Company nearly 
died because of lack of financial support at the local level. In addi- 
tion numerous young churches disbanded because no organized 
program of ministerial supply was put into effect by The Brethren 

The other area in which the Progressives overreacted was in 
their extreme openness to new cultural and religious movements. 
During the late 1800s and early 1900s both fundamentalism and 
liberalism entered the church. During the 1910s the church faced 
sharp controversy which was resolved only after those influenced 
by liberalism left the church in the 1920s. But in the 1930s a clash 
between a fundamentalist group (the Grace Brethren) and a group 
committed to more traditional Brethren views (the Ashland Breth- 
ren) rent the denomination in half. Had The Brethren Church been 
more discerning about its own identity and calling these controver- 
sies may never have occurred. 

As The Brethren Church celebrates its centennial it has a rich 
heritage of which it can be proud. But it needs to remember that its 
future depends on its fidelity to Grod's Word and its sensitivity to 
the Spirit's leading. Only as it is self-conscious about its identity 
and purpose can the church progress in the next century with con- 
fidence of its calling. 


'The Brethren movement began in Germany in 1708 but by 1729 nearly 
the entire fellowship had emigrated to America, settling initially in east- 
em Pennsylvania. By 1800 Brethren had moved south as far as South 
Carolina, had crossed the Cimiberland Gap into Tennessee and Kentucky, 
and had just moved into Ohio and Missouri. Being primarily an agrarian 
people, the Brethren were quick to settle newly opened frontiers in the 
Midwest, Central states, and Far West. By 1850 Brethren were to be foxind 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific though the greatest concentration of mem- 
bers has remained in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. 

^Annual Meeting began in the latter 1700s as an occasion for the grow- 
ing brotherhood to fellowship together and present questions of doctrine 
and practice for consideration by the gathered body. 

Tor fuller details concerning each of these seven areas see Dale R. Stof- 
fer, "The Background and Development of Thought and Practice in the 
German Baptist Brethren (Dunker) and The Brethren (Progressive) 
Churches (c. 1650-1979)" (Ph.D. dissertation. Fuller Theological Seminary, 
1980), pp. 421-48. 

**Henry Holsinger in his history of the Brethren movement observed, 
"With the appearance of the Visitor was ushered in the progressive era in 


the Tunker Church." Henry R. Holsinger, Holsinger's History of the Tun- 
kers and The Brethren Church (Oakland, Cahfomia: Pacific Press Pubhsh- 
ing Company, 1901; reprinted. North Manchester, Indiana: L. W. Shultz, 
1962), p. 470. 

^In 1856 Holsinger served a one year apprenticeship. He did not extend 
his training period because he was disappointed that Kurtz did not follow 
his suggestion to make the Gospel Visitor into a weekly. 

^Another grave concern of the Old Order Brethren was that Brethren 
schools might cultivate the desire for an educated ministry which would 
preach "for hire." See Marcus Miller, "Roots by the River," Ashland 
Theological Bulletin 8 (Spring 1975): 56-57. 

^For a thorough study of the plain dress of the Brethren see Esther Fern 
Rupel, "An Investigation of the Origin, Significance, and Demise of the 
Prescribed Dress Worn by Members of the Church of the Brethren" (Ph.D. 
dissertation. University of Minnesota, 1971). 

*Feetwashing, the love feast, and the eucharist comprise the three parts 
of the Brethren observance of Communion. 

^F. Ernest Stoeffler, The Rise of Evangelical Pietism, Studies in the His- 
tory of Religions, No. 9 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1971), p. 30. 

^"For a more detailed discussion of the evolution of Annual Meeting see 
Stoffer, "Thought and Practice," pp. 326-36. 

"Samuel Murray, George V. Siler, and Samuel Kinsey, "The Brethren's 
Reasons," in Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Old German Baptist 
Brethren from 1778 to 1955, Publishing Committee (Covington, Ohio: Lit- 
tle Printing Company, 1956), p. 15. 

^^Publishing Committee, Minutes of the Old German Baptist Brethren, 
pp. 502-503. 

^^Holsinger, Tunkers, pp. 531-33. These points are taken from a docu- 
ment prepared immediately following the expulsion of Holsinger and other 
Progressives from the church in 1882. It is interesting that the Progres- 
sives, in criticising the Conservatives in this document, used terminology 
similar to that which the Old Orders had used during the preceding decade 
in attacking the Progressive elements in the church. For example, the Pro- 
gressives declared their "independence from all innovations and additions" 
introduced by the Conservatives regarding church polity and decried the 
"continued departures from the primitive simplity of the Christian faith in 
almost every essential feature of gospel liberty and church rule." Of course 
the innovations and departures for the Progressives were defined in terms 
of the principle of "gospel liberty" while for the Old Orders they were de- 
fined in terms of the principle of continuity with the "ancient order of the 

"J. W. Beer, "The Old and Sure Foundation," The Progressive Christian 
(hereafter PC) 3 (November 11, 1881): 1 and P. H. Beaver, "Wild Shots," 
PC 3 (July 1, 1881):4. 

^^Henry R. Holsinger and Stephen H. Bashor, "Progressive Unity — Our 
Principles Defined," PC 3 (October 7, 1881):2. 

^^Holsinger, Tunkers, p. 534. Holsinger's most infamous attack against 

48 • 

the Standing Committee occurred in an article in which he compared it to 
a secret organization (the Brethren strictly forbade participation in such 
societies) with (1) a room to itself, (2) a door-keeper, (3) sessions held with 
closed doors, (4) exclusion of the press, (5) exclusion of all but the third de- 
gree ministry (ordained elders), and (6) secrets which are not to be re- 
vealed. H. R. Holsinger, "Is the Standing Committee a Secret Organiza- 
tion?" PC 1 (June 27, 1879): 2. 

'^The Greneral Mission Board, Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the 
Church of the Brethren, Containing all Available Minutes from 1778 to 
1909 (Elgin, Illinois: Brethren Publishing House, 1909), Art. 5, p. 408. 

•«Ibid., p. 421. 

i^R. H. Miller, "Liberties," The Brethren at Work (hereafter BAW) 7 
(January 12, 1882), quoted in Kerby Lauderdale, "Division among the 
German Baptist Brethren" (M. Div. Independent Study, Bethany Theologi- 
cal Seminary, 1968), p. 83. 

^oPeter Nead, "The Restoration of Primitive Christianity. No. 43," The 
Vindicator 7 (January 1876): 2. 

^^Samuel Kinsey, "Business Thoughts for Annual Meeting," The Vin- 
dicator 9 (June 1878): 183-84. 

^^Henry R. Holsinger, "What Is the General Order?" PC 3 (January 28, 
1881): 2. The Progressive position was well summarized in the often cited 
adage: "In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, and in all things char- 

^^Idem, Tunkers, p. 486. 

^■•Ibid., p. 535. The historiography of the Old Orders and Progressives is 
noteworthy. Whereas the Old Orders idealized the Brethren of the 1820s 
and 30s, the Progressives idealized their conception of the eighteenth cen- 
tury Brethren (before the development of the "order of the Brethren"). 

^^J. H. Moore, "Due Respect to Our Fathers," BAW 7 (June 20, 1882): 4. 

^^The difference between the Conservatives and Progressives on this 
point is one of degree only. The degrees of difference between the three 
groups can be illustrated by noting the concern of each group regarding 
the availability of the minutes of past Annual Meetings. The Old Orders 
not only print the minutes for each Annual Meeting following the gather- 
ing, but they make available as needed (editions in 1917, 1944, 1955, 
1971, and 1981) a single volume containing all the extant minutes of An- 
nual Meetings (beginning in 1778). The Church of the Brethren also prints 
minutes following each Annual Meeting, but only the minutes from 1945 
on are still in print. The last complete edition of the minutes was pub- 
lished in 1909 "for historical value." The Brethren Church (Progressives) 
publish only the year by year proceedings of their Annual Conference. 
They have never published a collection of past minutes. 

^'Quoted in Albert T. Ronk, History of the Brethren Church (Ashland, 
Ohio: Brethren Publishing Company, 1968), pp. 90-91. 

^J. H. Moore, "Our Reflector," BAW 6 (October 18, 1881): 633. 

^^Note Holsinger's remarks about the lack of education found among the 
leadership of the church. 


"I can even now close my eyes and name a dozen churches with 
whose elders I was personally acquainted who could not read in- 
telligently a chapter from the Bible or a h3nnn from a hymnbook, 
nor write an intelligent notice or announcement of a communion 
meeting for a paper. Some of them could deliver a pretty fair dis- 
course in an extemporaneous way, more or less satisfactory to the 
people of the community in which they lived, but the more dis- 
creet of them could not attempt to preach at a strange place or in 
a town." 
Holsinger, Tunkers pp. 473-74. 

^"See idem and Stephen H. Bashor, "The Issue," PC 3 (October 14, 1881): 
2 and J. H. Worst, Customs and Usages or the Order of the Church (Ash- 
land, Ohio: H. R. Holsinger & Co., 1883), pp. 1-16. 

^Tor a more detailed discussion of the differences between revivalism 
and the early Brethren view of conversion and the church see Stoffer, 
"Thought and Practice," pp. 354-56, 499-501. 


J. Allen Miller, 1866-1935 

by Richard E. Allison 

The spirit and genius of the Brethren, 
says Dr. J. Allen Miller, are to be found 
in the life of the community. To appre- 
ciate it one must enter it. The reference 
is not to narrow idiosyncrasies but those 
"magnificent traits of Christian conduct, 
the unfaltering devotion to convictions, 
the honesty and integrity of character 
and loyalty to the church and the Word 
of Grod."^ This quiet and peaceful lifestyle 
flowed on as a deep stream of spiritual 
righteousness. The fraternal fellowship 
was simple and sincere. These are the '^- ^^^®^ Miller 

traits that improve with the years. This calls for a heroic, self- 
sacrificing spirit able to live in distinction from the culture with 
the goal being Christ-like character. 

Thus it is that this man more than any other epitomized historic 
Brethren ideals in the years following the 1883 division.^ He illus- 
trated the tension Brethren have experienced between Spirit and 
Word, the internal and external, faith and obedience, personal 
faith and corporate responsibility, the Christ of faith and the Jesus 
of history. 

As Dr. Miller began his term as president of Ashland College, he 
began by parting the weeds on the campus and kneeling in prayer. 
He wanted for himself and his students an intelligent and reasona- 
ble faith. His Lord was Christ and his book was the Bible and his 
faith was that of the Brethren.^ The first third of the century has 
been dominated by his Christocenric faith, scholarship and devo- 

His origins are simple. Bom near Rossville, Indiana on August 
20, 1866 to a teacher father and a "PK" mother. He followed in the 
footsteps of his father and began teaching school at seventeen. At 
eighteen he united with the Brethren Church at Edna Mills, In- 
diana. Within a few months following baptism he was called to 
ministry and began preaching. 

In 1887 he entered Ashland College graduating four years later 
with an A.B. degree. While at Ashland he pastored the Glenford, 
Ohio Brethren Church (1890-92). Following graduation he moved 
to Elkhart, Indiana where he served the Brethren Church (1891- 
1894) and attended Hillsdale College. In 1894 he began forty-one 
years of ministry at Ashland College and Seminary. The church 


had prevailed upon him to leave his pastorate and fill the term of 
the ailing president, S.S. Garst. This he did but resigned two years 
later to pursue additional studies at Hiram College earning the 
B.D. degree in 1898. While at Hiram, J. Allen Miller wrote a series 
of articles on "Divine Self-Revelation" that were published in the 
Brethren Evangelist as a series of six articles (1896). 

In the fall of 1898, Dr. Miller opened Ashland College in what is 
reckoned as the beginning of the modern history of the school. It 
has been in continuous operation since that time. His philosophy of 
life was that "this is God's world and he had a plan for it and he 
will not permit it to fail. It is a plan in which good is intended for 
his people, and he will bring it to pass.^ 

This philosophy expressed the confidence and assurance of the 
man. He had an unquenchable optimism that would neither turn 
back nor retreat when he had set out on a path. Energetic, indus- 
trious, loyal, with resoluteness he forged ahead. When he resigned 
as president in 1906, the college was debt free, possessing an ade- 
quate endowment and with an enrollment that had greatly in- 

He was appointed dean of the theological department of Ashland 
College at this time. His duties included outlining courses, arrang- 
ing for the teaching staff and director of student Christian work.^ 
In addition he served as Vice President of the College. 

As a student. Dr. Miller had characteristics that students today 
would do well to emulate. He was thorough, painstaking, and effi- 
cient in his day-to-day work. He was nearly always a shade 
superior intellectually to his colleagues upon their own admission. 
He had a passion for accuracy, for correctness and detail. This laid 
the foundation for the solid and enduring scholarship which won 
him the respect of the Brethren. 

Dr. Miller was a dominant figure in the denomination through- 
out his lifetime.^ He served with distinction from 1895 on the Com- 
mittee of Ten on church polity (1895), the Committee of Three on 
General Conference rules (1901), the Committee of Twenty-five on 
church polity (1912) and the Committee of Twenty-five which for- 
mulated the "Message of the Brethren Ministry" (1920). He au- 
thored the preamble to the above work. In addition he served two 
terms as moderator of the General Conference (1907 and 1924) and 
on several occasions served as moderator of the Ohio District Con- 

The quality that suited him for this work was that when ". . . 
profound and controversial issues had reached a dead-lock, he was 
first to reach a certain unhesitating assurance of conviction which 
seldom failed to carry conviction and endorsement."^ 

Dr. Miller served as president of the Foreign Missionary society 


from its inception (1903) until the time of his death. In addition he 
was elected as the first president of the board of directors of the 
Brethren's Home and served until his death. In addition he was 
elected to several terms on the Publication Board. 

He was an active, constructive member of the Ashland community 
serving on the Civil Service Commission of the city and the com- 
mittee that established the commission form of government. He 
was a member of Rotary and served as its president. He was widely 
known and respected in the community. 

His students remember Dr. Miller as a man carrying an armload 
of books to class. He lectured from the text of numerous books 
rather than from copious notes.^ His home was filled with beloved 
volumes with which he had an intimate acquaintance. He knew his 
books and where to find anj^hing he wanted. He knew the page to 
which to turn and where on the page the statement was to be 
found. He displayed exceptional ability in Latin, Greek, Hebrew 
and Aramaic. "His technical skill in Biblical languages and his un- 
qualified commitment to the authority of God's revelation through 
Christ in the Word made Miller a highly respected exegete."^ 

His breadth and openness as a scholar is evident in the follow- 

We must hold a faith that is reasonable, intelligent and compel- 
ling. We ought never as ministers and teachers of the Word of 
God have to beg the question when asked for the grounds upon 
which our faith rests by replying evasively or charging our ques- 
tioners with unbelief. ... I plead for an informed and intelligent 
ministry. I covet a ministry for the Brethren church that knows 
the grounds upon which faith can be rested, — grounds that can 
not be shaken by any discovery of history, science or philosophy.'" 

As a preacher, he was an expositor rather than topical. His 
knowledge of scripture made this approach natural. He not only 
knew the Book better than most, but he also had a personal ac- 
quaintance with the land of the book having visited the Holy Land 
in 1926. In addition he knew people, their characteristics, and 
loved them. Physically he was rather frail but he excelled spiritu- 
ally and intellectually. 

He was a person who held positive convictions. At the same time 
he was not at all contentious in defending them. As Martin Shively 
has written: 

In fact he was not at all inclined to argue in defense of any posi- 
tion, but it would have been something of an undertaking to have 
tried to change his opinions. He seems to have gone thoroughly 
into any question which came to him for solution, and when a con- 
clusion was reached, that end had been achieved as a result of 
careful study and thought, and while he was always open minded, 
and inclined to yield to the inevitable, his convictions were rarely 
affected. He was distinctly a man of peace, not only for his own 


sake, but especially for^the sake of the church which he loved with 

devotion which was absolute. That beatitude which says, 'Blessed 

are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,' 

entitled him to such a distinction, for he not only loved peace, but 

made every possible effort to preserve it in every relation with 

which he was connected." 

Dr. Miller exemplifies more than any other what it means to be 

JBrethren. Many gain renown for intellectual abilities. Few attain a 

life of saintliness. Others excell in service. Dr. Miller excelled in all 

the above. There is a moral beauty to his Christian character. 

There is a profound depth to his Christian scholarship and there is 

a childlike simplicity to his faith. ^^ 

The thought life of Dr. Miller is to be discerned from the book 
Christian Doctrine, a work published posthumously by his students 
fi-om his lecture notes; a short work prepared as Sunday school les- 
son outlines entitled Doctrinal Statements (1922); several pam- 
phlets such as "A Brief Sketch of The Brethren" and over one 
hundred articles that appeared in the Brethren Evangelist. "Even 
though each of these treatments derives from a different decade of 
his life, his seminal thoughts remain quite consistent. ^^ 

Miller's thought is thoroughly christocentric. The eternal pur- 
poses of Grod are centered in Jesus Christ. It is Christ that has per- 
fectly manifested the will of the Father. It is Christ who effected 
man's redemption by his atoning death. It is Christ who assists 
man to first see his infinite possibilities. 

Scripture is the sole and sufficient authority illustrated in the 

Jesus Christ came into our world as God's Son, incarnate in per- 
fect man; 

Jesus Christ spoke for God to men; he revealed the will of God to 

Jesus Christ commanded men to hear his message, believe it and 
obey it. 

This Message which he revealed personally and through chosen 
men is the New Testament; as such record it is God's Revelation 
given through Inspiration." 

The scriptures are not to be worshipped, but the Christ of the scrip- 
tures. The scriptures point to him. The scriptures are a "perfect rev- 
elation", "a complete revelation" and "a final revelation". The 
Word is divinely inspired and helps us to know the will of God. The 
New Testament is to be viewed aS the fulfillment of the Old Testa- 
ment, therefore, biblical revelation is to be viewed progressively. 
Dr. Miller believed in the inspiration of scripture. This is due to 
the God-inbreathed influence enabling chosen persons to communi- 
cate the revelation of God.^® He held that scripture exhibits both di- 
vine and human aspects. At points one finds the very words which 
Grod directed and at other points, the words are those of the writer. 


Thus Miller steered a course between the fundamentalist and lib- 
eral controversies of his day. 

Miller's approach to interpretation is seen in the following prin- 

1. Every passage has but one true meaning. 

2. There is, therefore, a unity of Biblical truth. 

3. The meaning of each passage is capable of being investigated.^^ 

Miller continues by giving a series of rules for interpreting the 
scriptures. He relied upon light from historical and literary criti- 
cism. He insisted that the interpretation be contextual. 

Miller harbors none of the antipathy toward reason found among 
the early Brethren. Rather he is far more typical of his age in mir- 
roring a fairly optimistic view of the powers of reason. He declared: 

. . . the New Testament is and must remain our ultimate source of 
information and the final word of authority. One must of neces- 
sity hold some philosophic world-view. But there must be consis- 
tency in one's thinking and one's conclusions ought not contradict 
this philosophy and dare not be contrary to the Teachings of 
Christ and the New Testament Revelation.^' 

Miller's theological approach is biblical rather than systematic. 
This is characteristic of Brethren. Corroborating scriptures are im- 
portant. Controversial topics are avoided. Technical theological 
terms are rare. He cites few scholars and does not interact with 
other theological positions. His thrust is to search the scriptures to 
discern the will of God. Sin is accepted as a fact. Its origin is not 
explored. This leads to the discussion of redemption provided by 
Grod in Christ. Miller rejects the idea that newly born children are 
guilty sinners before God. Guilt is not inherited or transmitted. A 
tendency to sin is what is inherited. We begin with a predisposition 
to sin.^* Quickly Miller closes the door on any possibility of self re- 
demption. Redemption is provided by Grod and there is no redemp- 
tion except in Christ. 

Miller does not become embroiled in a theory of the atonement. 
Rather, he is content to review the biblical materials. He wrote: 

In the voluntary offering of Jesus Christ as a ransom for the sins 
of the many we have an everlasting redemption brought in, and 
upon which offering as a ransom redemption is effected. Further 
we may add that faith up6n man's part brings him into a relation 
of gracious acceptance with God and adoption into sonship.^^ 

The conditions of salvation recognized by Miller coincide with 
those of the early Brethren namely enlightenment, faith, repen- 
tance, obedience.^" Obedience implies confession, baptism and con- 
firmation. These several acts are what is meant by conversion. He 
sees salvation as a process encompassing "deliverance from the 


present evil world and its sin and the enjoyment of all the blessings 
of children of God."^^ Salvation is a process whose goal is the ideal 
exemplified by Christ. Regeneration follows and has both a divine 
and a human side. 

The church for Miller is the gathering of faithful ones which was 
the clear intention of Jesus very early in his ministry. Thus the 
church is not a mixed multitude, but a body of believers in Christ 
who have been called out of the world, have been bom again of the 
Holy Spirit, and are therefore alive in Christ, and who, under the 
authority of Christ, are accomplishing the will of God on earth and 
among men.^^ This precludes Christians living apart from the 

The strong, highly developed ecclesiology overshadows the space 
given to the ordinances of baptism by trine immersion and com- 
munion. Baptism is important as already noted in the order of sal- 
vation. The trine mode is determined by conflating the teachings of 
scripture, the practice of the Apostolic age, the meaning of the 
Greek word for baptism and supported by the opinions of leading 
scholars. The order for the threefold communion service is 
pedalavium, agape and eucharist. 

The pedalavium is supported by John 13 and is a fitting sjrmbol 
of service. The agape symbolizes brotherhood, fellowship and looks 
forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The eucharist is a 
symbolic remembrance of Jesus. Other ordinances include the lay- 
ing on of hands, anointing for healing and the kiss of peace. 

In a sermon on "The Quest of a Warless World",^^ Dr. Miller 

Historic position of the Church. We insist that MORAL and 
SPIRITUAL Issues can not be arbitrated by FORCE. War is basi- 
cally a moral issue. An appeal to ARMS is an appeal to brute 
force. Force can never make a wrong and an injustice, right and 
just, whether as between man and man or Nation and Nation. We 
refuse to be partners to the settlement of a moral issue on the 
basis that might makes right. And we are conscientious in this 
matter. WE ARE CHRISTIAN. We take the Bible seriously as the 
very Word of Grod; therefore we observe to the letter many of its 
teachings which are commonly disregarded. . . . We hold literally 
to the teachings of Jesus. . . . For the same reason we are Non-re- 
sistants. It is our inmost conviction of reasoned thought and an 
overwhelming sense of divine compulsion that impels us to take 
our stand against WAR as un-Christian and therefore sinful. 

Miller's eschatology is determined by his emphasis on the didac- 
tic and narrative passages of the New Testament rather than the 
apocaljrtic passages.^'* He holds that the separation of the wicked 
fi'om the saints occurs at death. Christians receive a resurrection 


body at death. The ultimate destiny of the wicked is a mystery 
which he is unable to resolve. 

Interestingly, Miller questions the idea of a secret rapture and a 
great tribulation to follow. He taught: 

Then there is the teaching concerning the great tribulation. We 
are told by some that the coming of the Lord divides itself into the 
unseen presence of the Lord in the air, and that the living saints 
and the dead saints will meet him up there all unknown to the 
rest of the world here; then, the Church being taken out, there 
will be a great tribulation. I can't find it in the Scriptures. I shall 
be glad to have anyone find it for me. Let me tell you what it is. It 
means the personal presence. In every passage I have found, 
every passage in the New Testament, the Parousia or presence ev- 
erywhere and always means the personal presence; or one man in 
the presence of others. ... As for the great tribulation as men- 
tioned in the apocalyptic writings, this one tribulation, I think a 
fair exegesis will show, refers to the overthrow of Jerusalem and 
the persecution of the Jews.^^ 

Miller views the kingdom as the greatest theme of the New Tes- 
tament. Everything there looks forward to its realization.^® Christ's 
personal return will precipitate the final crisis which will usher in 
the age to come. 

Dr. Miller died March 27, 1935 at Ashland, Ohio. He stands as 
the epitomy of what it means to be Brethren. Steeped in the Word 
as interpreted through the life of Christ, he sought light wherever 
he could find it. He held convictions firmly, but did not press them 
upon others. He stood with Protestantism where he could, and 
went beyond at other points, stressing commitment to the Gospel 
and calling for this to emerge through the body, which is the 
agency through which God is working out his plan in the present 
age. The kingdom is the goal. 


^George W. Rench, "In Memorium: As A Church Leader," The Brethren 
Evangelist, LVII, No. 17 (April 27, 1935), pp. 5-6. 

^Dale R. Stoffer, "The Background and Development of Thought and 
Practice in The German Baptist Brethren and The Brethren Churches" 
(Ph. D. dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1980), p. 620. 

^Clara Worst Miller and E. Glenn Mason, A Short History of Ashland 
College to 1953 (Ashland, Ohio: Brethren Publishing Company, 1953). 

■*Martin Shively, "Some Brethren Church Leaders of Yesterday As I 
Knew Them: J. Allen Miller, H.M., D.D.," The Brethren Evangelist, LVII, 
No. 32 (August 17, 1935), p. 6. 

^Miller and Mason, p. 51. 


«Stoffer, p. 622. 

^William D. Furry, "Introductory Note of Appreciation" in J. Allen Mil- 
ler's Christian Doctrine: Lectures and Sermons (Ashland, Ohio: Brethren 
Publishing Company, 1946), p. xiv. 

Trom a class lecture by Delbert B. Flora, April 1982. 

^Stoffer, p. 623. 

'"J. Allen Miller, "The Sure Foundation," Brethren Evangelist, L (De- 
cember 29, 1928), p. 3. 

"Shively, p. 7. 

*^A. J. McClain, "The Faith of Doctor Miller," Ashland College Bulletin, 
VIII, No. 7 (May, 1935). 

"Stoffer, p. 625. 

"Miller, "Sure Foundation," p. 3. 

'^Miller, Christian Doctrine, p. 118. 

i^Ibid., p. 139. 

"Ibid., p. 280. 

*®J. Allen Miller, "Sin And Human Need IV," Brethren Evangelist, 
XXXII, No. 32 (July 7, 1910), p. 7. 

'^Miller, Christian Doctrine, pp. 42-43. 

^"Ibid., pp. 51-52. 

^^Ibid., p. 67. 

^^'Ibid., p. 249. 

^Ibid., pp. 334-35. 

'"'Stoffer, p. 672. 

^^Miller, Christian Doctrine, p. 226. 

2«Ibid., p. 228. 


The Historical Role Of The Brethren Elder 

by Jack L. Oxenrider 

What is the role of the elder within the tradition and polity of 
The Brethren Church? The term elder is the predominant histori- 
cal designation for "pastor" in The Brethren Church. When persons 
were/are ordained to the Brethren pastoral ministry, it is to the of- 
fice of elder. Preacher, minister, bishop, elder, helper, pastor, 
exhorter, and reverend are various designations which have been 
used throughout Brethren history to refer to this role.^ The late 
twentieth century finds the role designated by the terms preacher, 
minister, elder, or pastor. 

Traditional definitions and pastoral models will not suffice due 
to the uniqueness of Brethren polity. Brethren Church polity is Be- 
lievers' Church polity.^ The genius of Brethren polity was best cap- 
tured by Alexander Mack, Jr. in the Second Preface to The Rights 
and Ordinances of the House of God. There he said: 

These eight persons (the original Brethren) united with one 
another as brethren and sisters in the covenant of the cross of 
Jesus Christ as a church of Christian believers.^ 

The role of the Brethren elder should be defined by its ecclesiol- 
ogy, but the Brethren have no systematic ecclesiology. "The Breth- 
ren avoided creeds and confessions. . . ."^ The texts of Scripture con- 
stitute Brethren ecclesiology. Thus, the elder's role is defined by 
Scriptural teaching and example. 

The use of the term "elder" within The Brethren Church was de- 
rived fi'om the New Testament. The Greek word presbyteros, which 
is translated elder, is used in three different ways: (1) The "elders 
of Israel", (2) The senior/aged members of the church, and (3) A 
technical reference to leadership. The model for the New Testa- 
ment elder is rooted within the "elders of Israel" and the Old Testa- 
ment cultural reverence for their character, counsel, and ability.^ 

The term "elder" is used throughout the New Testament as an 
inclusive designation for varied functions of leadership which in- 
cluded apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher, deacon, and bishop. 
Within the New Testament definition of the role, there is neither 
hierarchical nor sacerdotal distinction. Thus, the elders were not 
the unquestioned authorities of the church who made all decisions, 
controlled the organization, practice, and future direction of a con- 
gregation. Neither were they endowed with special "priestly" pow- 
ers to mediate between Grod and man. They were people selected by 
Grod, through the church, to serve (Acts 14:23, I Timothy 5:22, 
Titus 1:5, Philippians 1:1). 


Because of their wise and respected counsel, the growing matur- 
ity of their Christian character, their accumulated experience and 
ability in ministry, they were often influential in the direction of 
the church. They were leaders because the church respected their 
personal character and abilities in ministry. They were granted 
power and authority by the church, yet they were the servants of 
the church both subordinate and accountable to it. 

In the New Testament, great care and detail are given to charac- 
terize the kind of person who is best able to fulfill the role of elder. 
The New Testament calls for careful discernment by the church in 
the process of selecting its leaders (Titus 1:5-9, I Timothy 3:1-7, II 
Timothy 2:24-26). 

The duties which are to be fulfilled are pastoring, ruling, preach- 
ing, teaching, and evangelizing. In every case, the elders were not 
the only ones who performed these ministries; yet, these ministries 
were a major part of their function and were essential to their con- 
gregational service (I Peter 5:1-5, I Timothy 5:17-18, II Timothy 
4:1-5). When the church "set apart" elders, it placed itself under 
their leadership, pastoral care, preaching, and teaching. The con- 
gregation had responsibility of the care of the elder (I Timothy 

The New Testament displays and teaches interdependence, 
shared responsibility, and mutual accountability between the el- 
ders and the congregations. Elder and people were equally a part of 
the koinonia community.^ 

It was the desire of the early Brethren (1708-1735) to reflect the 
New Testament Church in their faith and practice. While they may 
not have achieved a perfect likeness to the primitive church, there 
was a similarity. They were able, to a degree, to leap back 1600 
years to recapture in a different culture and time the basic essence 
of the primitive church. 

There were four prevalent values within the mind of the first 
Brethren of 1708 which influenced the formation of the role and 
position of the elder: (1) The Brethren had an aversion to ecclesias- 
tical hierarchy,^ (2) The Brethren position of leadership was shaped 
by the Pietistic-Anabaptist influence,® (3) The early Brethren de- 
sired to recapture the practices and faith of the New Testament 
Church,^ (4) The early Brethren adhered to the Bible as it read.^° It 
was the balance of these four values which shaped The Brethren 
Church and, consequently, the elder. 

The early Brethren never wrote a theology of the church; there is 
no ecclesiology. They never wrote a theology of the elder; there is 
no pastoral theology. Yet, an understanding of the values which 
shaped the early Brethren and an observance of the tasks which 
the early Brethren leaders performed can help us to remold an 


impression of the elder within the early Brethren Church. 

From the very conception of The Brethren Church, there has 
been a continuing recognition and practice of accepting, choosing, 
and following leaders. The early Brethren clearly accepted the in- 
terpretation of Gottfried Arnold on leadership. Arnold taught that 
there was no essential difference between the early church leaders, 
including apostle, prophet, teacher, preacher, and deacon. He 
further believed the elder, as a general term, could be applied to 
every position of Christian leadership. 

For the early Brethren, there was little distinction between 
leader and laity. The baptism account of 1708 details the extreme 
measures the early Brethren employed to maintain equality. Alex- 
ander Mack, Sr., as leader, baptized the other seven. This marked 
the beginning of The Brethren Church; yet, at the same time, he 
was baptized by them. The care and discipline which characterizes 
the first baptism is an example of the balance which existed within 
the early Brethren Church between the leader and the people. This 
example captures the very essence of the Brethren spirit with re- 
gard to the role of the elder and the leadership model for The 
Brethren Church.^^ 

The leadership Mack exercised within the early Brethren 
Church demonstrated that he was indeed the elder in the New Tes- 
tament sense of the word. As Dale Stoffer has written: 

It was to a large measure due to Mack's preaching, teaching, and 
writing skill that the young church expanded to several locations 
in Germany. Finally, it was as a result of his pastoral leadership 
that the scattered and, at times, disillusioned flock of Brethren 
who had come to America achieved a new sense of community and 

His [Alexander Mack's] Christian character appears to have been 
that of a primitive follower of Christ. Humility, zeal, self-denial, 
charity were conspicuous among the graces that adorned his char- 
acter. The high estimation in which he was held by his brethren 
is seen in the circumstances that he was chosen by them to be 
their master. He was the first minister of a little Christian com- 
munity organized in Schwarzenau in 1708, and labored zealously 
and successfully to enlarge the borders of their Zion. Of his pri- 
vate character as a Christian father, we may infer favorably from 
these circumstances that all his sons became pious and were 
united with the church before they had completed their 17th 

The choosing of leaders became a growing practice for the Breth- 
ren. In 1729, Alexander Mack journeyed to America and settled in 
Germantown where he assisted Peter Becker, the elder of that con- 
gregation." Conrad Beissel served the Brethren at Conestoga. The 
early Brethren considered an elder to be an essential ingredient of 
a fully organized and recognized congregation.^^ By 1720, there was 


a distinct organization of The Brethren Church and a clear practice 
of choosing and ordaining leaders/® 

The mid-eighteenth century witnessed a distinct practice of 
Brethren worship. The characteristics of this worship exemplify 
the position of the elder within the early Brethren community. It 
also exemplifies the degree to which the brotherhood had taken or- 
ganizational shape. ^^ 

The second period of Brethren history (1736-1880) is that of or- 
ganization and development which followed the death of the first 
generation leadership. This period was marked by a process of in- 
stitutionalization. The elders were the key contributors to the in- 
stitutionalization, and it powerfully affected their role. This period 
of approximately 150 years reveals a consistent pattern of change. 
There was a rise in the elder's power and what appeared to be a 
growing separation between clergy and laity. There was a continu- 
ing policy of the elder's subjection to the church, but the elders de- 
veloped such power and control that, for all practical purposes, 
they were the church. 

During the first twenty-five years of The Brethren Church in 
America there was consistent growth which centered around Ger- 
mantown. The pastoral leadership was a key element of this 
growth. As a Brethren historian writes: 

The leadership in the eighteenth century congregation at Ger- 
mantown was outstanding. It included such personalities as Peter 
Becker, Alexander Mack, St., Alexander Mack, Jr., and the two 
Christopher Sauers. In 1788, the congregation elected to the 
ministry a man named Peter Keyser, Jr., whose ministry was des- 
tined to span the period of the eclipse of Germantown by Philadel- 
phia. He was a minister in Germantown and Philadelphia for 
sixty-one years and an elder for forty-seven. No man is more truly 
linked between Colonial and American time than that of Peter 
Keyser, Jr." 

Pennsylvania is one example of the kind of growth in that 
period. The Brethren in Pennsylvania grew to approximately fif- 
teen congregations, in excess of 700 members. During this time, 
the Brethren began to move toward "levels" in minstry. Of the fif- 
teen churches which existed in the brotherhood in 1770, there were 
twenty-one ministries; eight were ordained elders and thirteen 
held a lower degree of ministry referred to as "exhorters."^® 

Morgan Edwards summarizes his historical research into the 
early Brethren with these words: 

... in this province fifteen churches of Tunker Baptist, to which 
appertain eight ordained ministers, elders or bishops, and thir- 
teen exhorters, or probationers. . . . We see also that their families 
are about 419, which contain about 2,095 souls allowing five to a 
family whereas 763 persons were baptized and in communion. ^° 


By the year 1780, there were clear and accepted practices within 
the church which were referred to as "the way of the Brethren." 
These were unstated attitudes and assumptions which were felt to 
characterize Brethren tradition and polity. As Annual Meeting 
began to take power and authority within the church, the "way of 
the Brethren" began to be written down. Thus, there came to be a 
standard of polity and tradition for the church. Donald Dumbaugh 
has stated: 

The Yearly Meeting, held at Pentecost, brought together most of 
the elders and many of the other members. A committee of elders 
which came to be called Standing Committee prepared the busi- 
ness for presentation to the assembly. Decision was by unanimous 
consent. If there was a difference of opinion, the matter would be 
set back for a year.^^ 

The first Annual Meeting was held in 1742. The records of The 
Classified Minutes of Annual Meeting begin in 1778. The meeting 
was initiated by the elders who consequently took responsibility for 
leadership. This set in motion an increasing control of the elders 
over the church. 

During the period of 1776 to 1850, the elders gained prominence 
within the brotherhood. There were few congregations who were 
without ministers, and these ministers had growing respect and 
authority within the church. "Ministers were elected by the congre- 
gation so a church seldom lacked an elder for any more than a brief 
period of time."^^ The main responsibility of the elder during this 
period was to preach, baptize, counsel, and "rule" through the giv- 
ing of opinion and direction. Stoffer explains: 

Brethren preaching (at this time period) tended to be devotional, 
emphasizing such typically Brethren themes of self-denial, non- 
conformity, discipleship to Christ, obedience to the precepts of the 
Scriptvu-e, love of Grod and one's neighbor; somewhat apologetic, 
defending the Brethren view of baptism and the love feast, espe- 
cially; evangelical, based on one biblical text which the speaker 
developed by using biblical and non-biblical illustrative material; 
and, at times, evangelistic, giving a low-key invitation to believe 
in Christ.^^ 

Institutionalization was a necessary "evil" for the Brethren. As 
the church grew in the number of congregations, baptized believ- 
ers, and elders, and as they were spread geographically throughout 
the United States, organization became necessary. The Classified 
Minutes of the Annual Meeting of The Brethren give a general over- 
view of the issues which faced the Brethren and how these issues 
were handled.^"* 

The first issue was the three-degree ministry or three stages in 
the ordination process to eldership or "full ministry." The minutes 
of Annual Meeting reveal the development of a three-degree Breth- 


ren ministry. In 1864 and ag^in in 1865, the question of a three-de- 
gree ministry came to Annual Meeting. The origin of the three-de- 
gree ministry within The Brethren Church is very difficult to 
trace. There seemed to be no historical arguments for its develop- 
ment. Rather, it appears that it was a practice which was slowly 
accepted into the church. As mentioned earlier, by 1760 there had 
developed a two-stage ministry and, by 1860, there was a fully de- 
fined three-stage ministry within the church. Church historians 
believe that the three-stage ministry within the Brethren was 
adopted from their Mennonite brothers. ^^ 

It was during the late 1700s and early 1800s that some clear dis- 
tinctions and identifications within the church offices began to 
develop. A bishop was in charge of overseeing the various degrees 
of elder within the specific church. Durnbaugh noted: 

The church leaders were elected by the entire church membership 
(male and female). . . . This meeting usually produced the most 
able, or at least sincere, leadership. Congregations appreciated 
but did not demand eloquence. Since there were ordinarily several 
ministers in the congregation, different talents could come into 
play. Some were known as excellent counselors and administra- 
tors of church affairs, while others were known for their preach- 

No salary was paid to ministers, although expenses might be 
reimbursed. . . . Church officers were chosen for life. Eldership en- 
tailed an extra sacrifice for this involved much travel to other 
congregations. Most of the men had limited schooling but they ap- 
plied themselves to the study of Scriptures and used the books 
they did own to their excellent advantage. ^^ 

Readings in journals, sermon copies, and articles from this period 
indicate that some developed considerable skill in their theology 
and work of ministry. Yet, it also becomes clear that others were 
very poor at handling the biblical text and spoke more from pre- 
judiced opinion and church tradition than from the model of the 
first century church and the teachings of Scripture. 

The second issue was the elder's relation to the church. The out- 
standing characteristic of the nineteenth century Brethren Church 
was the elder-controlled church. General conference was largely in- 
fluenced and controlled by elders. ^^ Foremost in the historical mind 
of the Brethren has been a question of the relationship of the elder 
to the church. Thus, Annual Meeting repeatedly dealt with ques- 
tions which referred to the elder's relationship to the church. All 
their decisions maintained the authority of the church over the 

The decisions of Annual Meeting continually reaffirmed the 
principle that the congregation was the decision-making community 
and that the elders should always consult the congregation. When 


there was a difference in opinion, the congregation had the final 
word. Such an attitude not only reflects the Brethren of 1708, but 
it is also characteristic of the New Testament Church, Such a bal- 
ance of power is an essential element to the life of the brotherhood. 
Within the organization of a Believers' Church the elders must be 
accountable to the church. 

It is not surprising that the growth and expansion of The Breth- 
ren Church, coupled with the institutional character of Annual 
Meeting, was to bring about controversy. There were several areas 
of controversy which rose to the surface between the years of 1860 
and 1882. These controversies led to a major schism of the church 
which resulted in the birth of The Brethren Church based in Ash- 
land, Ohio. 

The elder was at the center of the controversy with issues such 
as a paid ministry and a mono-pastoral system. The paid ministry 
was first introduced to The Brethren Church in 1860. The one pas- 
tor system began to grow as the Brethren expanded throughout the 
northwest and midwest, resulting in more contact with the styles 
of other Christian churches. Thus, the mono-pastoral model be- 
came an option. 

Another controversy which developed during this period was the 
power of the elder within Annual Meeting. 

In 1868, Annual Meeting agreed that the Standing Committee 
should be composed of representatives elected by the representa- 
tive districts of the church, rather than being selected by the el- 
ders of the church hosting the Annual Meeting.^^ 

Such a decision was an obvious reaction to the power which the el- 
ders had maintained within Annual Meeting. 

The year 1851 has traditionally been recognized as the pivotal 
point in the Brethren history, for in April of that year, Henry 
Kurtz began his monthly paper the Gospel Visitor, at Poland, 

Henry Holsinger, the leader of the Progressives, calls the period 
between 1850 and 1880 "transitional" and states that "with the ap- 
pearance of the Visitor was ushered in the Progressive era in the 
Tunker Church."^^ The Christian Family Companion and it succes- 
sor. The Primitive Christian, became the "soapboxes" for the Pro- 
gressive movement of the church. These papers began to offer criti- 
cism of the existing structures within the brotherhood and called 
for progressive reform. 

The competence of the elders began to be questioned. While there 
were many elders who fulfilled their jobs well and who were skilled 
at church administration, preaching, and teaching, there were el- 
ders who were poor at these functions and who were unable to lead 


congregations. The Progressive movement saw a solution to these 
problems in the full-time pastor and the mono-pastoral ministry. 
The emphasis of the Progressive Brethren was not upon the pay, 
the profession, or the lone pastor, but upon the education, training, 
and total devotion to the work of ministry. James Quinter said in 

In our travels among the churches and our observation in regards 
to the causes of trouble and difficulties with which these churches 
are so often afflicted, we have been painfully impressed with the 
circumstance that we frequently find that the preachers are not 
implicated in the troubles, but apparently their indiscretion or 
misconduct has been the cause of the trouble. We are therefore 
fearful that our ministers do not always appreciate the great re- 
sponsibility that rests upon them or the effects of their influence 
upon the chiu-ch.'^ 

While this criticism could not be leveled against all elders and con- 
gregations within the brotherhood, there was growing concern. 
Tension and controversy surrounded the church in the latter part 
of the nineteenth century. It equally surrounded the elder. 

The schism of the early 1880s within the German Baptist 
Church led to radical reforms within the Progressive element. The 
Progressive Brethren, under the leadership of Henry Holsinger, 
were incorporated in Ashland, Ohio, in the year 1883. They took 
the name, The Brethren Church. Stoffer wrote: 

Holsinger indicates that the Progressives were especially discon- 
tented by the incompetency of many of the elders and bishops. 
This incompetency was a direct result of their lack of education. 
Holsinger felt that the Grerman Baptist Brethren were strangling, 
numerically and spiritually, because their leadership lacked the 
education necessary to participate in the modern world.^^ 

The most obvious changes made by the Progressive Brethren 
were in relation to the elder. The three-degree ministry was quick- 
ly abolished and a single-degree ministry, marked by the ordina- 
tion of the elder, was established. In 1934, a probationary period of 
licensure was adopted by the Brethren Ministerial Association. But 
there has been within the Progressive movement only one level of 
ordination to the office of elder. 

During the first decade, there was considerable discussion over 
the role of elder and the relationship of the elder to the church. 
Henry Holsinger pointed out: 

The overseers have a duty to perform and are invested with cer- 
tain authority, and it is against the abuse of this authority and 
the usurpation of power, nor theirs, that occasionally calls for the 
protest of the church. The same fatal mistake is now occurring 
that has occurred on several occasions in the history of the 


church — ^the elders consider themselves rulers while in reality, 
they are but servants.^" 

It was this controversy that was the central force to reshape and 
redefine the position and the role of the elder within the church. 
Yet, the abuse of the power of the elders in The German Baptist 
and the harsh expulsion of the Progressives by the parent church 
did not lead to a reactionary abandonment of the elder's role. They 
were able to redefine the church and the elder from the historic 
Pietistic-Anabaptist perspective and in relation to the New Testa- 
ment Church. 

The Progressive Brethren had a strong desire to follow the New 
Testament. The Progressive revolt was centered in the authority of 
tradition which was captured in the statement "the way of the 
Brethren." The Progressives felt that tradition had been elevated 
to an equal or superior position with Scripture. The model of the 
Progressives became "The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but 
the Bible." They considered the New Testament to be their only 
guide of faith and practice. This became most evident by an insig- 

The Brethren Evangelist, the paper for the Progressive Brethren, 
carried an array of articles in relation to the church and the pas- 
tor's roles, duties, and qualifications.^^ For example, Allen Bricker 
defined the elder as equivalent of pastor, teacher, and evangelist. 
He then defined the duties or functions of the evangelist. The roles 
he named are as follows: (1) Be an example to the flock (pastoring- 
teaching); (2) Examine and care for spiritual needs (pastoring- 
teaching); (3) Study and preach the Word (preaching); (4) Do the 
work of an evangelist (evangelizing); (5) Rule the flock (ruling).^' 

Henry Holsinger, who was monitor of the 1883 Convention of 
The Brethren which met in Da5rton, Ohio, addressed the conven- 
tion on the subject of the elder and called for quick and radical re- 
forms.^^ The actions of the 1883 convention demonstrated that the 
Progressives assumed the position of an elder as a part of a Believ- 
ers' Church. They considered the role and/or position of the elder to 
be essential, as did the early Brethren. The resulting committee re- 
port appeared to define the tasks of the elder as preaching, teach- 
ing, and ministering (or pastoring).^^ 

The suggestion of Henry Holsinger at the 1883 conference in 
Da5d;on set a precedent for the operation of the Brethren. Following 
the committee report, there was a continuing flow of denomina- 
tional material which defined the offices of the church and the rela- 
tion of those offices to the church. 

In the year 1897, the Brethren developed what they entitled, The 
Manual of Church Expediency. This manual was a forerunner of 


what today is called The Manual of Procedure for The Brethren 
Church. Herein the articles of faith were defined, as well as the or- 
ganization of the church, its officers, and the duties of its officers.^" 
The elder is defined as the first and only degree of ministry. The 
duties of the elder which are described in this manual are 
categorized as follows: (1) Pastoring; (2) Evangelizing; (3) Ruling 
(to assist in); (4) Preaching; (5) Administering the Ordinances. The 
polity of The Brethren Church as described in the manual gives 
clear authority to the church over its elders. 

Approximately ten years after the publication of The Manual of 
Church Expediency, C. F. Yoder published The Gospel Church Gov- 
ernment. Yoder addressed the power of the church, the officers and 
gifts of the apostolic church, the elders and bishops and their 
duties, deacon and deaconesses and their qualifications, and mis- 
cellaneous concerns with relation to church offices."^ Yoder reiter- 
ates the qualifications for an elder from I Timothy 3, Titus 1 and 2, 
and I Timothy 4. He saw five duties for the elder within the 
church. They were: (1) Preaching; (2) Teaching; (3) Administering 
the Ordinances; (4) Ruling; (5) Evangelizing.*^ 

In 1901, J. Allen Miller wrote an article entitled, "The Preacher 
and the Preaching for the Day." In the article, Miller outlines five 
qualifications for the preacher: (1) The preacher must be called of 
God; (2) The preacher must be trained in intellect; (3) The preacher 
must be intensely spiritual; (4) The preacher must be self-surren- 
dered; (5) The preacher must be a prophet."*^ 

In 1924, Miller was on a committee of three which published The 
Brethren Minister's Handbook, designed to help give uniformity in 
the Brethren practice. The attitude of the church toward its minis- 
ters in the early twentieth century is captured in the preface of this 

The minister's duties are so varied and oft times so pressing upon 
him that he welcomes, if he is an earnest and effective worker, 
every suggestion that offers help. There is scarcely a relation of 
human life, no matter how sacred or joyous or how tragic or dis- 
tressful to which a pastor is not called to enter. Upon all such oc- 
casions the individual resources are oft time too limited to make 
possible the best service. Here again the faithful and sincere 
worker gladly accepts any help offered. Once again the adminis- 
tration of the affairs of the church, the celebration of the ordi- 
nances and sacraments of the church, and the conducting of public 
and special services lay heavy toll on the ability and the skill of 
the pastor and preacher. The work of the minister should be care- 
fully, decorously, and prayerfully done. Beauty, order, and har- 
mony in the services, whatever their nature may be, will always 
attract folks to the church. Dignity, spirituality, and meaning will 
always edify. The right way will always be the best way. The one 
purpose of the handbook is expressed in the words of Paul in I 
Corinthians 14:40 — let all things be done in dignity and in order.** 


The final step of the early twentieth century which helped define 
the role of the elder within The Brethren Church was The Message 
of the Brethren Ministry. This action of the Brethren Ministerial 
Association was imposed by the fundamentalist fears that liberals 
were invading the church. All Brethren elders who were ordained 
in the brotherhood and accepted in the Brethren Ministerial As- 
sociation were asked to and expected to ascribe to the articles he- 

By the means of three items, The Manual of Procedure (or Man- 
ual of Church Expediency), The Message of The Brethren Ministry, 
and The Brethren Minister's Handbook, the Brethren outlined the 
duties of the elder and his relationship to the church. These be- 
came the accepted practice and guidelines for the elder in the early 
twentieth century. They continue to exercise considerable author- 
ity and influence within the church. 

The Brethren Church today is a continuation of the Progressive 
movement and its 1883 origin. Since 1924, only three articles have 
been written in The Brethren Evangelist which discuss the Breth- 
ren understanding of elder and the duties of the elder within the 
church.*^ Within this framework, the elder is an accepted and as- 
sumed necessary position of leadership within the Believers' 
Church polity of The Brethren Church. The role and function of the 
elder in The Brethren Church today is outlined in A Manual of 
Procedure for The Brethren Church.*'' Yet there exists in The 
Brethren Church today a tension between the polarities of the Be- 
lievers' Church and the proponents of hierarchical organization. It 
is in the midst of that tension that the Brethren have continued to 
define the role and position of the elder. 

While the Brethren have never achieved a perfect reproduction 
of the first century church nor the New Testament practice, their 
desire to do so has been evident. It would be unreasonable to expect 
the Brethren to reproduce a carbon copy of the New Testament 
church. To do so would require living in a New Testament world. 
The best that the Brethren can hope for, or any church can hope 
for, is to reproduce an equivalent of the New Testament church 
within its culture. The elders of the twentieth century Brethren 
Church are the equivalent and obvious successors of their early 
Brethren counterparts and the New Testament elders. 

The duties of the Brethren elders have been defined and rede- 
fined by the accumulated practices recorded in the Brethren his- 
tory. No particular Brethren-written history has been all-inclusive 
in its definition of duties of the elder. Yet, historical practice has 
defined six specific functions which Brethren elders fulfilled: (1) 
Preaching; (2) Pastoring; (3) Teaching; (4) Ruling; (5) Administer- 
ing the Ordinances; (6) Evangelizing. 


The role of the Brethren elder has existed and has been defined 
in the midst of the natural tension which existed between the au- 
thority and responsibility of the office and the principles of ser- 
vanthood within a Believers' Church. The brotherhood requires 
careful and sensitive leadership. This leadership must understand 
and be committed to the principles of a Believers' Church. Such 
was the perspective of Alexander Mack. His example of strong and 
capable leadership, carefully maintained within a true Believers' 
Church community, is exemplary.*^ 


^Donald F. Durnbaugh, European Origins of The Brethren (Elgin, IL: 
Brethren Press, 1958), p. 340 (the 35th Question). 

^I. D. Parker, "Church Polity", and D. L. Miller, ed., Two Centuries of the 
Church of the Brethren (Elgin, IL: Brethren Publishing House, 1980), p. 

^Durnbaugh, p. 121; also see Alexander Mack, The Rites and Ordinances 
of the House of God (Mansfield, OH: Century Printing Co., 1939), p. 15. 

*Dale R. Stoffer, "The Background and Development of Thought and 
Practice in the German Baptist Brethren (Dunker) and The Brethren (Pro- 
gressive) Churches (c. 1650-1979)" (Ph.D. dissertation. Fuller Theological 
Seminary, School of Theology, 1980), p. 216. 

^Samuel Macauley Jackson, ed., The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of 
Religious Knowledge (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977), p. 103. 

yack L. Oxenrider, "Sharing Leadership in The Brethren Church: A 
Leadership Design for an Elder (Pastor) Within the Tradition and Polity of 
The Brethren Church" (D. Min. document, Ashland Theological Seminary, 
1982), pp. 15-65. 

yohn W. Leer, "The Brethren Past and Present," Brethren Life and 
Thought, Winter 1958, p. 16. 

^Angel M. Mergal, ed.. The Library of Christian Classics, vol. XXV, 
Spiritual and Anabaptist Writers (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1957), 
pp. 240-41. 

^Stoffer, p. 232. 

'"James H. Lehman, The Old Brethren (Elgin: Brethren Press, 1967), pp. 

>'Dumbaugh, pp. 120-22. " 

'^'Stoffer, p. 204. 

'^Ibid., Compare Alexander Mack, The Rites and Ordinances of the 
House of God (Mansfield, OH: Century Printing Co., 1939), p. 10. 

>^Ibid., p. 10. 


i^Ibid., p. 279. 

'«Ibid., p. 212. 

"Donald F. Durnbaugh, ed., The Church of The Brethren, Past and 
Present (Elgin: Brethren Press, 1971), p. 20. 

'*Floyd E. Mallott, Studies in Brethren History (Elgin: Brethren Publish- 
ing House, 1954), p. 60. 

i^Ibid., c, p. 87. 

^"'Ibid., p. 88. 

^'Durnbaugh, Past and Present, p. 19. 

^^^Stoffer, p. 316. 

^'^Ibid., p. 319. 

^'^The Classified Minutes of the Annual Meeting of The Brethren (Mt. 
Morris, IL., and Huntington, PA: Brethren's Publishing Company, 1886), 
pp. 102-27. 

^^Stoffer, pp. 324-25. 

^^Durnbaugh, Past and Present, p. 19. 

"Leer, p. 16. 

^^Classified Minutes, pp. 112-15. 

^^Stoffer, p. 330. 

^"Ibid., p. 421. 


^^ames Quinter, "Editorial," The Progressive Christian and Pilgrim, 
August 6, 1878, p. 489. 

^^Stoffer, p. 430. 

^"Henry Holsinger, "Church Government," The Progressive Christian, 
September 6, 1882, p. 2. 

^^Henry Holsinger, ed.. The Progressive Christian, October 8, 1880, p. 2. 

^^Oxenrider, pp. 111-13. 

^'A. Bricker, "The Church and Her Officers," The Brethren Evangelist, 
June 18, 1884, p. 1. 

^* Albert Ronk, History of The Brethren Church (Ashland: Brethren Pub- 
lishing Co., 1968), pp. 171-72. 

^^Ibid., p. 161. 

*°The Manual of Church Epediency (Ashland: Brethren Publishing Co., 
1897), pp. 234-39. 

"^C. F. Yoder, The Gospel Church Government (n.p., n.d.), pp. 5-25. 



"y. Allen Miller, "The Preacher and the Preaching for the Day," The 
Brethren Evangelist, January 3, 1901, p. 5. 

-"J. Allen Miller, G. W. Rench, Dyoll Belote, eds., The Brethren Minis- 
ter's Handbook (Ashland: Brethren Publishing Co., 1924), p. ii. 

*^Minutes of the Thirty-third General Conference of The Brethren 
Church, 1921 (n.p., n.d.), p. 16. 

■^See Delbert B. Flora, "Qualifications for the Elder," The Brethren 
Evangelist, April 9, 1949, p. 4; C. Y. Gilmer, "The Pastor and the Church 
Officials," The Brethren Evangelist, February 5, 1944, p. 6; and Albert T. 
Ronk, "Elders, Bishops, and their Duties," The Brethren Evangelist, 
November 29, 1958, p. 4. 

*^A Manual of Procedure for The Brethren Church, 1967 (n.p.), pp. 2-3. 

*®For a more detailed study see. Jack L. Oxenrider, "Sharing Leadership 
in The Brethren Church: A Leadership Design for an Elder (Pastor) With- 
in the Tradition and Polity of The Brethren Church" (D. Min. document, 
Ashland Theological Seminary, 1982), available through University 
Microfilms International, 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. 


GoD's Call To The Impossible 

by J. Ray Klingensmith 

Texts: "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Lk. 1:37). 
"Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" (Gen. 18:14). 

The call of Grod to believing people seems to be something totally 
impossible to the unbeliever. Our belief in God who created us, and 
all things that exist seems preposterous to unbelievers who do not 
know God. They would rather ascribe all life and existence to what 
they call "mother nature," or more vaguely, hundreds of millions, 
or billions of years. They pretend that it is impossible for them to 
say "Grod". But the believer stands in awe at the vastness and com- 
plexities of all things and humbly bows before the God who created 
them. Thus, what to the believer is totally obvious and acceptable 
is just impossible to the unbeliever. And there is a reason for this, 
which we will discuss later. 

Again, another "impossible" for the unbeliever that is fully ac- 
cepted by the believer is the One called Jesus Christ. The unbe- 
liever respects His wisdom and His moral and social works, but to 
believe that he is the Son of God, that His great death and resur- 
rection were accomplished in behalf of every sinner, is just out of 
the question for the unbeliever. Thus, what is impossible to plain 
human reason is wholly acceptable through the gift and experience 
of faith, which every believer knows. 

So the natural human mind seeks what to him is reasonable, ac- 
ceptable, provable; but faith, the gospel, the Bible, go far beyond 
the mere human reason. As the Bible says: "Eye hath not seen, nor 
ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things 
which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath re- 
vealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all 
things, yea, the deep things of God" (I Cor. 2:9-10). 

Now consider all of the "impossible" things God gives to the be- 
liever with which to witness to an unbelieving world. Everything 
in the Christian's arsenal of faith is just impossible to the "natural 
man," as the apostle Paul would say. Yet consider also how power- 
ful and effective these "impossibles" have been to claim millions of 
believers for Christ. Only Grod knows how many hundreds of mil- 
lions have given their lives to him, to serve, to believe, to go into 
the ministry, to become mart5rrs, or whatever their witness be- 
came. And there are now hundreds of millions believing and pray- 
ing and working for Him regardless of how impossible it seems to 
those who do not have faith. 

The Christians proclaim a Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ. The un- 
believer says "impossible". The unbeliever proclaims that such 


things never happen, in fact can't happen. But God tells us to pro- 
claim it! And hundreds of millions celebrate what they call the 
Christmas story which proclaims God's entrance into the human 
family "made of a woman" (Gal. 4:4). And to make the story even 
more impossible this one born was called the Son of God! And he 
was born to an unmarried girl! And still worse, born in a barn! 
Now what a message to proclaim to a lost world! This One the 
Saviour of mankind? But it is this to which we witness. And it con- 
founds the wisdom of the wise. And it is so unique and so out of the 
ordinary that only God could have brought it to pass. Thus its 

The story continues with this One growing up as a laborer, a car- 
penter whose own relatives at one time thought him "mad". The re- 
ligious people were always challenging and contradicting Him and 
trying to make Him an enemy of their religion. They could not 
deny His miracles and great wisdom and His divine power; but 
they could not give up their own reasoning to accept by faith what 
God had given them. So they finally proved their own carnality by 
having Him murdered. So He was crucified between two thieves as 
an outlaw, a blasphemer, and enemy of God and the Jewish reli- 
gion. And God gives us such a story to tell to a lost world! Impossi- 
ble! So the Cross has become the symbol of victory, not of failure; of 
life, not of death. So the cross now decorates the churches and 
cathedrals and missions and is even worn as jewelry. Doesn't it 
seem that God would have given us a great success story to pro- 
claim? He gave us the worst possible message to proclaim: a baby 
born to an unmarried couple, in a barn, in controversy with his 
own people, murdered as an outlaw! What a story! And yet millions 
bow before it! It is told and retold and sung about and written 
about and painted and preached more than any other event or life 
known to mankind. And by it we are redeemed. 

And is there still more to this impossible story? Yes! The worst 
yet: He arose from the dead! God raised Him up! He broke open the 
way for all of us to go to God! Impossible! But that is the Gospel! 
And that we proclaim. And that becomes the power of God unto 
salvation to every one that belie veth, to the Jew first and also to 
the Greek. 

Would it not seem that God would have given us some great suc- 
cess story to proclaim? Could it not have been verified by great in- 
tellectuals and powerful leaders? But no, they rejected it. 

And who witnessed and perceived and grasped all of this? Not 
the "wise". Not the powerful politicians. Not the great religious 
leaders. Just people! "Hath not God chosen the poor of this world 
rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom. . . ?" (James 2:5). And they 
tell us that more than 500 people saw Him after He had arisen 


from the dead, and they don't even give us the names of very many 
of them. And who were some of the witnesses who proclaimed it 
first? Mary Magdalene? The one out of whom he had cast seven de- 
vils? And the other Mary? And Peter who denied Him? And a 
couple people going down the Emmaus road who didn't know Him 
when He appeared unto them? Surely it would seem that some 
great scientist or some great historian or some great religious 
teacher should have been there to verify it. But no. God didn't need 
that. The event in itself would carry ample power with it to touch 
the human soul. So now God has armed us with the story of a Vir- 
gin Birth, a carpenter, a controversial life, a person murdered as 
an outlaw, a cross, and a resurrection from the dead — which be- 
comes a victory over death and a salvation and redemption for a 
lost world! And it has changed the lives of millions upon millions 
in every nation, language and tongue. And it is still doing so. 

But to carry the story of God's call to the impossible a bit further 
let us consider the people God used to get the message into writing 
and to what we now call the New Testament. The great religious 
leaders and intellectuals were offended that they were not called 
upon to be His disciples or to proclaim His Word. Neither were 
they needed to write it. For who were they who gave it to us? 
Matthew the publican. Mark, who had quit outright on his first at- 
tempt at a missionary venture. There was Simon Peter who had de- 
nied that he knew him. There was the original Saul of Tarsus who 
hated Him before his conversion. And there was James. Now 
surely we should have had some great University professor or some 
famous historian or some widely known philosopher publish this 
great story. But no. Our writers didn't even have a college educa- 
tion, except Paul. They had no experience in writing. In fact they 
didn't even have a publisher! Now how can this story get off the 
ground without a great public relations promoter? This is impossi- 
ble! But we have their story in more homes and hearts than any 
other ever written. It is published in more languages, dialects, 
parts and parcels than any document ever written. Impossible! But 
this is how God works. This is the God and the Gospel that the un- 
believers won't accept, while the evidence of it is so abundant that 
it practically smothers them. 

So here we are with the simplest people carrying the most pro- 
found truth while God makes foolish the wisdom of the wisest of 
men (I Cor. 1:26-31). 

So you have heard of some "impossible" Christian? And you 
know some impossible church? And you know some impossible life 
that God can't use? Well, that's quite normal. All believers feel as 
if we are the most impossible of all; but God has called us and is 
using us, and we love it. 


It was ever so that the great gift of faith supercedes all of the im- 
possibles. Have you heard of Noah and an ark? Just impossible, but 
it saved the human race. Have you heard of Moses who was pitted 
against an Egyptian government and all of its power to rescue a 
nation of slaves who had been in captivity for over four centuries? 
Have you heard of a Daniel in a lion's den or the Hebrew children 
in a furnace of fire? Have you heard of a David and a Goliath? Did 
you know about an Isaiah or a Jeremiah, or Amos, or Elijah? All 
were called to what the world would say was impossible. Have you 
read the eleventh chapter of Hebrews lately? This is the faith. This 
is the power. This is where Grod always did and still does work. 

Where is your church working? Or where are you working? Still 
in the possibles? Why not get into Faith for a change? We walk by 
faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). The possibles are for those who 
live and work only by their own poor human reason. The impossi- 
bles are for those who have faith in the God of the impossibles. Be 
it done unto you according to your FAITH — not your worth, nor 
your merit, nor your virtue. 

God is still calling thousands of young people into this "impossi- 
ble" but greatest of all lives. Can you by faith join them, or help 
them? But even greater yet, can you and your church get out of the 
possibles into the great impossibles where God is always at work? 


THESES (1981-1982) 

We are extremely proud of our students and the research that they pursue. 
We have asked them to share a short summary of their completed theses at 
ATS in the hope that others may be made aware of these sources. The theses 
are bound and in the ATS Library. Those graduates that responded are 
listed below. 

Terry L. Cross, Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Aspects of Revelation: A 
Comparison of the Views of Karl Barth and Carl F. H. Henry on 
Propositional Revelation 

Revelation has been shaped into many things by contemporary theology. 
A major distinction between neo-orthodox theology and evangelical theol- 
ogy is the view that revelation is personal not propositional. The writings 
of Karl Barth and Carl F. H. Henry form representative material from 
which to better understand this distinction. Both Barth and Henry rely 
heavily on their view of God to shape their view of revelation. Barth sees 
Grod as the hidden subject who can never fully reveal Himself to man. 
However, God allows human language and concepts to speak to man, 
thereby allowing man to know "something" of God. In this way, Barth at- 
tempts to avoid skepticism about God. Henry sees God as personal but also 
rational, and therefore revealing Himself in a rational, written revelation. 
To dissolve revelation into a subjective, non-cognitive event in which God 
personally encoun teres man is to cause the "suicide of theology." The 
Scriptures are reliable, rational revelation from God and about God, giv- 
ing man truth, not veiled information or subjectivity. 

Casual readers of both Barth and Henry wrongly accuse them of being 
too personal or too propositional. Barth attempts to bring a cognitive ele- 
ment into his view, but his view of God allows man to know little of truth 
about God. Henry asserts God reveals Himself personally as well as prop- 
ositionally, but he fails to emphasize this aspect enough (his chapters on 
the names of God do not adequately bring this personal aspect to the fore- 
front). In addition, Henry's view of the survival of the rational imago is 

It is the thesis of this work that revelation is a divine truth revealed to 
man which can become the cognitive basis for divine encounter through 
the illumination of the Holy Spirit. In this way, a balanced approach is 
achieved without overemphasizing the personal or propositional aspects. 
Evangelicals want to hold on to a personal God revealing Himself, while at 
the same time they want to retain cognitive elements in revelation in 
order to have normative doctrines in theology, ethics, and Christian minis- 
try. The Scriptiu"es provide this cognitive aspect and the Holy Spirit gives 
a personal aspect through illumination. 

William J. Dobben, A 'Communications in Marriage Workshop' 

The proliferation of programs of marriage "enrichment" has generated 
volumes of testimonials and self-reports. Recent studies, however, chal- 
lenge long-term effectiveness. Basic attitudes about marriage were mea- 
sured before and after participation in the Communications in Marriage 
Workshop (CIMW). Inclusion of a control group demonstrated positive 
movement attributable to the program. Twenty-eight tables are included. 

Clergy without graduate training in either education or counseling were 
"equipped" as facilitators. The CIMW source book (appendix C) provided 


nineteen modules including lectures, "guided meditations," worksheets, 
and a "card sort." Overhead projector transparencies helped to illustrate 
the lecture modules. 

Timothy P. Garner and Kerry L. Scott, A Teaching Resource on Breth- 
ren History 

As the title indicates, we have developed a teaching resource relating to 
Brethren history, as well as focusing on Brethren distinctives past and 
present. The resource is aimed toward the late Jr. High, early Sr. High age 
bracket, and is divided into four historical sections. Each section contains 
a historical overview, class activities, and at least one Bible study. Also in- 
cluded are 25 permanent overheads and scripts for three slide shows. We 
have outlined the resource into a 13-week elective course, although there 
is more material than can be adequately covered in that time span. 

Brad Holtsberry, Alternatives to the Prison System 

Today, if a man steals your black and white television society ends up 
paying $20,000 for his room and board. This foolish waste of money, 
known as the American prison system, must stop. The cost of imprison- 
ment is staggering. Is this institution the only way to deal with criminals? 
I am convinced it is not. 

In this project I examine various alternatives to the prison system such 
as: no punishment, capital punishment, restitution, "cutting-ofF', proba- 
tion, and halfway houses. For example, the principle of restitution would 
provide for the victim to receive a new television if his were stolen instead 
of a $20,000 tax. There are viable alternatives to the prison system and 
now is the time to implement them. 

Peter A. Ishola, Christian Missions in Yorubaland: 19th— 20th Cen- 

The purpose of this thesis is to reflect on the impact of various Christian 
missions in Yorubaland from 19th-20th centuries. Among the Christian 
missions in Yorubaland in the 19th— 20th centuries are: the Anglican 
Church Missionary Society (C.M.S.), the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary 
Society, the Foreign Mission BoEird of the Southern Baptist Convention of 
the United States, the Sudan Interior Mission (S.I.M.), and the United 
Missionary Society (U.M.S.). Each mission tried to emphasize how much it 
differed from all of the others. Each tried to teach about its denomina- 
tional differences, but what they had in common was far more impressive 
because the impact of Christian missionaries on our ways of life has been 
on the whole positive and beneficial. 

Christian missionaries have made a very great contribution to the edu- 
cational development of the Yoruba people in the post-primary school. In 
recent years the christians in government institutions have not been neg- 
lected. Their secondary schools have brought prestige to Christian mis- 
sions. Evangelization through education and educational establishments 
characterized the early beginnings of Christianity in many parts of Africa. 
Through the work of Christian missionaries various diseases and ailments 
have been brought under medical and national control, the health of our 
people has improved , the infant mortality rate has fallen, and many child- 
bearing women have continued to receive adequate care. These are just a 
few of the positive benefits the Christian mission gave to our people. How- 
ever, it is sad, but very true, that some Christian missionaries have ex- 
ploited black people in the name of Christianity. Some have treated 


Africans as second-class human beings. On the other hand, some mis- 
sionaries have literally laid down their lives for the black man. In some 
gireas, the early planters of Christianity did not seek to enter into the 
thought world and pattern of the Africans; did not seek to change their re- 
ligious psychology, their ethos and ethical conceptions and values. And 
yet, a number of missionaries were convinced of the immense superiority 
of the Western cultvire which Africa, as cultural tabula rasa, must wholly 
absorb if it was to be rescued from the claws of paganism and supersti- 
tions. Such was the diverse mentality of the early missionaries in Africa 
who did not penetrate the mind and culture of the Africans. This cultural 
arrogance and superiority complex "were definitely responsible for the 
strife between our cultiu-e and the Westernized institutions and values," 
says N.S.S.Iwe. This cultural "superiority" leads Africans to examine their 
culture. They say, "let us bring back our past." The call for cultural revi- 
val is right and necessary, but no culture is static, and no culture is pure. 
In fact, every culture has been tainted with sins. My opinion is that it is 
not only right, but it is appropriate, for Africans to examine their cultural 
heritage in the light of the jet age and the great upheavals that have come 
to our continent. Nevertheless, Christianity which has taken root on our 
continent should also be examined in the light of the Scriptures to see how 
the sons of Africa can truly be Christian Africans. 

Arthur E. Kemp, Toward a Black Theology For Black Evangelicals 

First, Black theology is theology because it is the attempt of Black 
peoples to reflect on their experience in the world as a people and to see 
when, where, and how they encountered Grod, the God of the Holy Bible, 
intervening in their affairs, their historical experience. It is Christian be- 
cause it sees faith in the God of the Bible in the Trinitarian expression of 
the God-head as the very essence of Black Theology. It is the God of the 
Bible who is with them and for them. 

Secondly, Black theology must interpret the Bible in the light of the ex- 
perience of Black Americans to Black Americans and for Black Americans 
so that Blacks can see and hear what God is saying to them. 

Thirdly, Black Theology must show that the God of the Bible is on the 
side of the oppressed, liberating them wholistically, and thus they are 
called to. participate with Him in His event of their liberation. 

Fourthly, God has historically used violence in the liberation of His 
peoples, as witnessed by the plagues against Egypt; Joshua at Jericho and 
Ai (chaps. 6 and 7 of Josh.); David's battles uniting Israel; Christ's cleans- 
ing of the Temple (Jn. 2:12-14); and Calvary's crucifixion of Christ by God 
(Jn. 10:18 with Isa. 53:6 and Eze. 18:4 and 2 Cor. 5:18, 19)— classic Bibli- 
cal examples of God's wrath at work on behalf of the oppressed, the 
wretched of the earth (Luke 4:18). Black Theology must point out that vio- 
lence for the sake of their freedom on the part of Black Americans could 
very well be interpreted as their Christian participation with Grod on their 
behalf. A radical but feasible concept. 

Please note in the second statement about who it is that must interpret 
the Bible. It must be indigenously interpreted by the persons both ex- 
periencing the liberating grace of God and needing it, as I posit to be the 
case with every theology. One group cannot do a theology for another. It 
must be done in the milieu, culture and experiential frame of reference of 
the people to whom God would talk. That is the way of the Bible. That is 
the way God always speeiks to His people. Black Theology says that it can- 
not, it must not, be different for Blacks. 


Marshall J. Pierson, III, Assurance Or Presumption? A Study Of The 
Meaning Of Defection As Presented In Hebrews 6:4-6 

This study concerned itself with the question of what type of people are 
in view of the writer of Hebrews at 6:4-6 and in the other passages of the 
epistle wherein pastoral warnings are uttered against departing from the 

The study engaged itself first in word study and exegesis from the Greek 
text and then surveyed the views from Luther to Wesley in chronological 
order, including the Arminian-Reformed controversy as it impinged upon 
Heb. 6:4-6, as well as the contemporary view of "4/5 Arminians" found in 
many contemporary Baptist circles, their position being essentially that of 
seventeenth century General Baptists asserting freedom of will of the lost 
to choose Christ or reject him, but asserting no freedom of will of the re- 
generate subsequent to conversion so that they are "eternally secure" 
whether or not they want to be. 

My conclusions were that those in view in Heb. 6:4-6 did actually share 
in the benefits of the Holy Spirit in the same way that Israel in the wilder- 
ness received Grod's benefits even though not all were individually elect. It 
is my conclusion that the writer of Hebrews consciously employs the co- 
venant motif to the new Israel, the visible church and consciously parallels 
it with the Old Testament church, Israel, so that the Bible appears to rec- 
ognize in both testaments two levels of election, one being a corporate body 
(Israel in the Old Testament, the Christian church since Christ) distin- 
guished from the world in general, and the second level recognizing the 
election of individuals within the visible church (i.e., that the visible co- 
venant bodies of both testaments are not constituted of only individually 
elect persons, but is comprised of those who both profess and possess the 
faith and those who merely profess the faith) and the nonelection of other 
individuals within the current covenant community, the Christian church. 

Thus, those individuals who are truly elect do persevere to the end (cf. 
John 10:27-30) while those who are merely professors will not, even 
though they drink from the same spiritual Rock (cf. I Cor. 10:1-12). 




AU6 17 leM 


I Journal 

Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio Fall 1983 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 

Fall 1983 


Introduction to the Current Issue 2 

The Ultimate Encounter — Narcissism 
And The Kingdom Of God 

by Theron H. Smith 3 

The Christian's Appeal To Religious Experience 

by Douglas E. Chismar 11 

Leadership Profile — New Testament Style 

by Frederick J. Finks 22 

The Future Of The Church 

by Joseph R. Shultz 30 

Theses (1982-1983) 36 

Editorial Committee: 

David A. Rausch, Editor 
Douglas E. Chismar 
Joseph N. Kickasola 

Volume XVI No. 1 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

Introduction To The Current Issue 

Our 1983 issue revolves around the "self." In the first article, 
Professor Theron H. Smith, Director of ATS Extension Programs 
and instructor in pastoral ministries, considers the problem of nar- 
cissism and the blight of the exaggerated "I." He offers concrete 
suggestions as to how the church should attack this "incalculably 
harmful" problem. Dr. Douglas E. Chismar, Assistant Professor of 
Philosophy and Apologetics, builds upon the foundation laid by 
Professor Smith. In "The Christian's Appeal to Religious Experi- 
ence," Dr. Chismar discusses the role of personal testimony "in a 
culture already beset with narcissism." Dr. Frederick J. Finks, 
Vice President for the Seminary, enhances the discussion by relat- 
ing characteristics and approaches that augment ministry and 
church growth. "Leadership Profile — New Testament Style" ele- 
vates the role of the servant-leader, the antithesis of narcissism. 

The sermonic piece for this issue is provided by Dr. Joseph R. 
Shultz, President of Ashland College and Seminary. In "The Fu- 
ture of the Church," Dr. Shultz warns against a church represent- 
ing itself rather than its Lord and offers helpful suggestions to 
counteract the current trend. 

— David A. Rausch, Editor 

The Ultimate Encounter — 
Narcissism And The Kingdom Of God 

by Theron H. Smith 

The serious and systematic study of the human mind and person- 
ahty in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has made available 
a great deal of helpful information on the subject of the self and its 
expressions. From chapter ten of the first of two volumes by Will- 
iam James and, of course, the writings of Sigmund Freud, to Eric 
Fromm by way of Heinz Kohut, Alfred Adler, and Carl Jung, there 
is much accumulated insight available to any serious student who 
wants to gain a better understanding of the "self. One learns to 
distinguish between the self as object and the self as process. One 
comes to see the strategic importance of self-esteem, self-aware- 
ness, self-actualization. Yet barely beneath the surface in all of 
this is a problem of enormous proportions. The "frightful evil of the 
monstrous ego" was identified as the basic problem of mankind the 
world over centuries before any of these psychologists and psychia- 
trists were born. 

Twenty-six hundred years ago the Chinese religion/philosophy of 
Taoism was stressing the basic and essential importance of selfless- 
ness, placing a premium on humility and submission. Buddhism 
has through the centuries set forth its fundamental doctrine of "no- 
self, and reinforced it by having its people bow and kneel and 
prostrate themselves. Hinduism has placed the greatest value on 
the mystic loss of self and provided help along the way with the 
generous cosmetic use of ashes. Islam has from its beginning ad- 
dressed its part of the world with a basic message of submission, 
with no square meter of room for self-glorification, and a pro- 
grammed reminder of five times a day putting the brow to the 
ground. Judaism camped much nearer to the danger zone with its 
distinctly greater individualism, but recognized the danger clearly 
and described it as the essence of the first "sin" and the one from 
which all evil evolved. Their people are called to bow, wear a cover- 
ing over the head, and practice penitence — all of which should 
serve to pull the "I" back down to proper size. Their ancient 
Talmud recognizes that the problem begins early: "every child 
exaggerates its own importance, saying 'the world was created for 
me'."i And long before the Talmud they were identifying "pride" as 
the root of "wickedness" (Pss. 10, 36, 73). In the Poetic books and in 
the Prophets, time after time they name this villain and call the 
people to counter with humility and with the spirit of a servant 
rather than donning the tragic "crown of pride." 

Then Jesus of Nazareth came, born in a barn, raised by a peas- 
ant couple. He called all of the people who would follow him to 
"give up all right to themselves." He informed his followers re- 
peatedly that he was not following his own will. Then he proceeded 
to absorb insults, physical abuse, lies, betrayal, desertion. Not long 
after his death a most profound statement was written about him 
pointing out that "he did not think that equality with Grod was 
something to try for, but instead made himself of no reputation and 
took the role of a servant" (Phil. 2:6-7). 

Surveying all of this Karl Menninger wrote that "The goal of all 
the great historic religions can be summarized as being the over- 
coming of one's self-love. "2 It is just not true that either chance or 
collusion causes this convergence of insight from all of these differ- 
ent people and times and places. Here is a great basic problem of 
human existence — in fact, the aboriginal, interminable problem. 

The problem, ancient and contemporary, incalculably harmful, is 
the exaggerated "I", the vanity and self-centeredness that calls 
seductively and with varying degrees of success to every medical 
doctor and every military officer, every person that enters the pul- 
pit or stands at the front of the classroom, every athlete and actor, 
every attorney and policeman, every truck driver and every farmer 
— everyone. Some form of this attacks the devout and the pagan, 
the scholar and the illiterate, the affluent and the poverty-stricken, 
the youngest and the eldest, female and male, ancient and modern, 
individual and nation. This disease infects the Philippine who 
warmly indulges his feeling of superiority over the Chinese who 
are certain of their rank above the Japanese who struggle little at 
times to hide their glance down on the Koreans. It is the Germans 
over the English over the Welsh; and of course the Frenchman 
looks at all of these with the quiet and smug confidence that comes 
from knowing that he is #1. 

While allowing a valid and even essential place for self-respect 
and self-confidence and self-concern, how powerful is the ancient 
virus that so easily turns them into a malady. An individual ex- 
pression of the evil of self-absorption is identified in an interesting 
line in Lost Horizon: "to strive for priority amongst one another — 
even as on the English playing field — seems entirely barbarous, a 
sheerly wanton stimulation of all the lower instincts." Unfortu- 
nately, all of us are more or less barbarian at times and more than 
a little stimulated in our "lower instincts." And at the same time 
this villain is identified in some of the warmest and least bar- 
barian surroundings. Angela Barron McBride, working on her doc- 
torate in developmental psychology at Purdue University, had the 
temerity to state that the main reason women have children is self- 
ishness. She insists that the potential companionship and pleasure 

combine with other personally fulfilling motives to create the self- 
enhancement that is the key motive for motherhood. Those who 
would rush to refute this charge may find it difficult, if sincere, to 
come up with purely altruistic motives for bringing another baby 
into the world. 

But far from the beauty of childbearing and motherhood this 
demon of self-centeredness and self-indulgence strikes a dastardly 
blow. A jouhalist writing about the hideous massacre in Beirut in 
1982 accounts for it as coming from "narrow self-interest on the 
part of the Phalangists who vented their frustration and hate, and 
the Israelis who permitted and condoned the atrocity." Well that is 
hardly an original motivation for such large-scale atrocities. Bar- 
bara Tuchman describes the excesses of nationalistic egoism that 
unleashed World War I,^ and you might well expect to find the 
same motivation in most of the wars in human history. 

From greed and intolerance and envy and lust and gluttony, to 
war and racism and exploitation and environmental destruction, to 
drug abuse and crime and marriage failure, the infected and dis- 
torted self-interest can ultimately and always be found. And none 
of us escapes. The spotlight swings across a whole army of us when 
David Myers asks, "have we not sensed the primacy of selfishness 
as people spend most of their energies on the personal concerns of 
themselves and their families, while world famine, tyranny, and 
nuclear weapons proliferate and world resources are depleted?"'* 
All of this adds up to much of the evidence from which Aaron Stern 
makes this terribly unsettling announcement at opening of Me: 
The Narcissistic American: "No society has ever survived success 
— the terminal disease for the Roman empire and all the rest, was 
narcissism. American society is about to join the rest."^ Speaking 
from a longer range view Arnold Toynbee reflected on the human 
situation from the perspective of his years of study and writing on 
the history of our life on this planet and he observed that "man's 
fundamental problem is his human egocentricity." While noting 
some of the accomplishments and advancements brought by sci- 
ence, he pointedly observes that "it has not helped man to break 
out of the prison of his inborn self-centeredness. "^ 

Though it is a recent phenomenon that there have been those 
like A5m Rand who have aggressively and skillfully campaigned 
for assertive individualism and the "virtue of selfishness," still 
there is evidence that excessive interest in one's own has been a 
very serious problem during all of the time that there has been 
human life on earth. This might seem to imply that since nothing 
can be done to seriously- alter that circumstance, we should simply 
recognize it, accept it, and adjust life to allow for it. But what of the 
continuing encounter between all of this and the kingdom of God? 

The time is right for a contemporary reexamination of this. Paul 
Vitz, a psychologist at New York University, insists that there is a 
major historical opportunity for Christianity to provide meaning 
and life as more and more people discover the emptiness of self- 

From the earliest days of the Christian church it is relatively 
easy to identify the problem of inordinate self-love. It is reportedly 
the motivation that caused the circumstances resulting in cardiac 
arrest for both Ananias and Sapphira. In the doctrinal treatise sent 
to the Roman church, the opening chapter identifies the human 
problem as "worshipping and serving the creature rather than the 
creator." It is clearly a concern of major proportions at the opening 
of the Corinthian correspondence. It was addressed as a serious 
complication in the life of the Galation church. The people of the 
Ephesian and Colossian churches are cautioned repeatedly to avoid 
pride and arrogance. Timothy is advised that the ultimate effect of 
evil on this planet is that humans will be totally preoccupied with 
their own selves, utterly self-centered. 

Rather than diminishing after the first century A.D., by the 
middle of the second century this original sin had clearly infected 
some prominent persons in the Church. Marcion set up his own 
canon and his own church; worse yet, he openly pandered to anti- 
semitism and pride. Shortly after this star flashed by, the gifted 
Montanus decided that the "fruit of this tree was desirable." And 
he had begun so well, identifying some problems which the Church 
needed to address in order to continue to grow and flourish. But 
then he began to insist that he was the advocate through whom the 
Holy Spirit would speak. Further he let the people in on the revela- 
tion that the Kingdom soon to be set up would have him in a very 
prominent place. The Church only had time enough to forget him 
when the brilliant preacher/orator, Paul of Samosata, Bishop of 
Antioch, began asking for applause and the waving of handker- 
chiefs following his speaking. He was able to become rather 
wealthy by way of his itinerant ministry. There is a considerable 
amount of evidence that he had an exaggerated interest in his own 

But through much of the history of the Church those who have 
led in the formulation and articulation of Christian doctrine have 
catalogued narcissism as the original and uniformly fundamental 
human problem. Augustine declared emphatically that the "primal 
destruction of man was self-love."^ He insisted that "pride is the 
beginning of all sin."^ Pope Gregory announced that the primary 
sin and the one from which all others derive is hubris A^ 

One of those who grasped the nature and significance of this 
matter more clearly than others was Martin Luther. Out of his own 

personal faith journey he came to see this phenomenon in a clear 
perspective as it affects most all of us — egocentric religion rather 
than theocentric. He identifies and sharply condemns Christian 
thinking, teaching, and practice where our relationship to God de- 
pends essentially on us, our perceptions, our needs, our desires, our 
performance. He had a passion to refute the common thinking that 
man is the center of everything and that all moves around him. His 
driving concern was to turn all of us to see that God must be the 
center. Philip Watson insists that this is the fundamental motif of 
Luther's thinking and writing, n 

John Wesley had a strong opinion on this subject. He considered 
it to be of primary importance. In his Sermon LVII, part 1, section 
1, he declared that "self-love is the root, not the branch, of all evil." 
In an earlier sermon he had asked rhetorically, "where is the man 
that is born without pride?" He proceeded immediately to warn his 
hearers that "hereby we rob God of his inalienable right, and 
idolatrously usurp his glory. "12 

This perception has continued to emerge through the centuries. 
It is one matter on which there is common agreement by persons of 
a rather wide spectrum of theological persuasions. Paul Tillich 
identified hubris, pride, self-elevation, as "sin in its total form."i3 
Emil Brunner said that "the origin of sin is the deification [by 
man], the grasping after the divine right . . . ."i^ In his exhaustive 
study of the Christian idea of love, Anders Nygren makes clear the 
conclusion that man's greatest need is to be taken out of his 
"cramping preoccupation with himself," delivered from "the prison 
of his egocentricity into the glorious liberty of the children of 
God."i5 Reinhold Niebuhr offers his summary observation: "The 
Biblical definition of basic sin as pride is an admirable summary of 
the whole Biblical doctrine of sin."i6 Bishop Aulen stated it just as 
clearly: "The essence of sin is egocentricity. "i"^ Dietrich Bonhoeffer 
in his direct and disarming manner left many of us squirming with 
self-recognition when he related that the hardest thing that he 
ever had to give up was his self-righteousness. The popular C.S. 
Lewis calls this the center of Christian morals. Here is the evil 
that leads to every other vice, says he — the one vice of which no 
person in the world is free — Pride or Self-Conceit. I8 J.B. Phillips 
concludes that there is no "sin" we can name which does not spring 
from love of self; and, the sins which do most damage and cause 
most suffering are those which have the highest content of self- 

The world would be well served if the Church would focus a 
sharp attack on this problem as the twentieth century closes. From 
generation to generation the Christian pulpit and pew identify, 
rather slowly, some of the moral ailments that infect their age and 

a counter-attack is launched. Human society has benefited im- 
measurably from this influence as those who pray "thy kingdom 
come" have moved out to work for its coming. But the time is long 
overdue for careful attention to be directed to the ultimate strug- 
gle. We should dare to join our leader in a deliberate assault on the 
most widespread, most persistent, and most potent of the ailments 
that impose suffering and crippling on his world. Narcissism's 
malignant and relentless curse can be effectively countered by 
time-proven means. 

A new investment of energy and determination must be injected 
into continuing the efforts to reform and revitalize Christian wor- 
ship. This is of strategic importance. It rests on the truth in the 
statement by the late Wm. Temple: "Worship is the most selfless 
emotion of which our nature is capable and the chief remedy of our 
self-centeredness, which is our original sin and the source of all ac- 
tual sin. "20 There still continues a lot of Christian worship that 
is not "worthy," and much that appeals to infantile elements in 
human personality, as Paul Hoon insisted ten years ago.^i We con- 
tinue to urgently need a hard reexamination of much of the hym- 
nody in use in all churches, from the cathedral to the store-front 
church. Intense effort needs to be made in all quarters of the 
Church to be certain that their corporate worship has an equal 
balance between the cognitive and the emotive. No less effort 
should be invested in the recovery of the historic position of the 
Eucharist in the worship of Christian people, carefully combined 
with a balanced emphasis on prophetic preaching that follows a 
comprehensive lectionary. This is no effort to reduce religion to 
liturgy, but it is a concern to add the mystique and depth with feel- 
ings that are desperately needed. One final suggestion in the area 
of worship: the entire Church should look very carefully at the 
benefits of Penance being practiced as one of the sacraments. When 
properly understood and employed, no other single practice has the 
potential of so effectively holding ME to an appropriate size. 

A second major component of the response is that all of the 
Christian Church should turn once again to make a clear and insis- 
tent call in teaching and preaching for all persons to make a deep 
and expensive commitment to their faith. It must be clearly seen 
that authentic affiliation with his kingdom makes a very large de- 
mand on life and lifestyle. At the center of that demand is the self- 
surrender that William James said has been and always must be 
regarded as the vital turning point of the religious life. 22 Without 
disputing over when and how it happens we must all faithfully 
point to its nature and importance, this moral transaction that car- 
ries each one to that higher dimension beyond the purely rational. 
When this is absent there remains a guaranteed survival of the 

subtle and indescribably powerful infected self-motives. But where 
this self-surrender occurs a crippling blow has been struck at the 
original sin. The issure addressed here is at the center of this war 
between narcissism and the Kingdom. It is in a word: authority. 
This is at the heart of the earliest Christian confession: Jesus 
Christ is Lord. This refers to a particular historical figure and we 
are committed to discern and respond to the ways of his rule (king) 
in the midst of all the forces in this world. And there will be count- 
less ways for every woman and man that will measure whether or 
not they are really in his kingdom. There is a forever continuing 
relevance in Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "costly grace." And our pursuit 
of that grace must be guided by a greater and growing familiarity 
with the Scriptures. A companion to our commitment to the 
lordship of Jesus Christ should be our commitment to the authority 
of the Holy Scriptures. We do not need any more people petrifying 
in Bibliolatry, or a greater supply of those skilled at mindlessly 
spouting proof texts. But all of the world would benefit enormously 
from a church more Biblically literate, searching with integrity for 
more truth for our day, and committed in advance to receive and 
act on their insights. 

Let's turn our attention to the ultmate struggle and examine 
what it really means to be in his Kingdom. 


^Talmud: Sukkah, 21a 

2Karl Menninger, Whatever Became of Sin? (NY: Hawthorn, 1973), p. 227. 

^Barbara Tuchman, Proud Tower (NY: Macmillan, 1972). 

4David Myers, The Inflated Self (NY: Seabury Press, 1981), pp. 7, 8. 

^Aaron Stem, Me: The Narcissistic American (NY: Ballantine, 1979) , p. 1. 

^Arnold Toynbee, Surviving the Future (NY: Oxford Univ. Press, 1971). 

''Paul Vitz, Psychology as Religion (Grand Rapid: Eerdmans, 1982), p. 10. 

^St. Augustine of Hippo, Sermo 96.2. 

^Augustine, Tractate XXV, 15 On The Gospel of John. 

^moralia XXVI, 28. 

iiPhilip S. Watson, Let God Be God (London: Epworth Press, 1947), 
p. 38. 

i2John Wesley, Sermon XLIV, part 2, sect. 7. 

i^Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Chicago: University of Chicago 
Press, 1950), p. 50. 

i^Emil Brunner, Die Mystik und Das Wort, p. 224. 

i^Anders Nygren, Agape and Eros, translated by Philip Watson (Phila.: 
Westminster, 1953). 

i^Reinhold Niebuhr, The Nature and Destiny of Man (NY: Scribners, 
1949), p. 186. 

I'^Gustaf Aulen, The Faith of the Christian Church (Phila.: Muhlenberg 
Press, 1948), p. 260. 

18C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (NY: Macmillan, 1952), p. 94. 

19J. B. Phillips, The Newborn Christian (NY: Macmillan, 1978), p. 49. 

20William Temple, Readings in St. John's Gospel (NY: Macmillan, 1947), 
p. 68. 

2iPaul W. Hoon, The Integrity of Worship (Nashville: Abingdon, 1971), 
p. 94. 

22William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (NY: Macmillan, 


The Christian's Appeal 
To Religious Experience 

by Douglas E. Chismar 

It is odd that in recent years the defenders of Christianity have 
been so wilKng to join the secular critics in downplaying the impor- 
tance of the Christian's experience of God. This seems strange, 
inasmuch as Paul appealed readily and often to his conversion 
experience as an argument for the faith (see, for example, Acts 
22:1-21). He was also not averse to calling the attention of his 
readers to their own personal experiences (Gal. 3:2-5). i To appeal 
to one's relationship with Christ seems the most natural place to 
start when testifying to others about God. Highly sophisticated and 
abstract philosophical arguments pale when contrasted with the 
concrete, real-life power of a personal testimony. Why are Chris- 
tian apologists so concerned to exclude the appeal to religious 
experience from the domain of Christian apologetics? 

The answer to this question is simple: appeals to personal experi- 
ence are subjective.^ The task of providing objective and valid 
reasons for accepting claims about God is not furthered by appeal 
to something which is itself in need of defense. Subjective claims 
are simply not reliable. To answer the question, "why should I be- 
lieve in God?" with, "because / do!" doesn't take things much 
farther down the road. In a culture already beset with narcissism, 
the last thing needed from the believer is more mushy talk about 
"my personal experiences." 

Yet, there surely is a place for communicating to the unbeliever 
that God still touches individual lives. Before embracing scholas- 
ticism for fear of subjectivism, it might do to seek a closer analysis 
of the problems surrounding the appeal to religious experience. In 
this article, we will review these alleged difficulties, suggesting 
that they have been overstated. With Paul, we can proclaim our 
encounter with the risen Lord, without fear that we are babbling in 
subjectivistic irrelevance. 

Gleaning from the literature devoted to religious experience 
arguments, it is possible to analyze the charge of "subjectivism" 
into four distinct objections.^ There may be other problems with re- 
ligious experience appeals, but these are the most talked about. 
The four objections are: 

1. The problem of ineffability 

2. The problem of verifiability 

3. The problem of reliability 

4. The problem of alternative interpretations 


We will treat each of these objections in turn. 

1. The problem of ineffability . About twenty years ago, a con- 
troversy brewed in the world of British-American philosophy con- 
cerning the meaning of religious language. It was argued by some 
that if God is really the exalted being He is claimed to be by be- 
lievers, religious language would fall short in trying to describe 
Him or speak about Him. The prevalence of neo-orthodox "Wholly 
Other" conceptions of God in these years exacerbated this prob- 
lem.'* The controversy has import for appeals to religious experi- 
ence. If it is impossible to use language to meaningfully speak 
about God, then it is also impossible to meaningfully testify about 
one's personal encounter with God. The silenced religious experi- 
encer obviously has little to offer qua defender of the faith. 

In recent years, this controversy has died down a great deal. 
With the onset of what was called "ordinary language philosophy" 
or "linguistic analysis," philosophers came to have a greater 
appreciation for the flexibility of language. Language was no 
longer pressed, as it had been in the previous philosophical fad of 
logical positivism, into a rigid logical or supposedly scientific mold. 
It is now allowed that within the scope of meaningful human dis- 
course, there are numerous forms of discourse ("language games"), 
some quite direct and specifiable, others more indirect, metaphori- 
cal and meaning- variant. Recent philosophers of religion (e.g., 
Richard Swinburne) have sought to make a case for the Thomist 
notion of religious language as "analogous."^ 

When speaking about God, believers may rely upon images 
and metaphors borrowed from other subject areas: e.g., God as 
"Father" or Christ as "Redeemer." It is not claimed that God is 
exactly like these mundane counterparts. Yet these terms are 
neither empty or meaningless. Some of God's character and actions 
can be correctly and meaningfully understood as "father-like." 
That is, God sometimes acts in ways very much like a loving 
human father. 

The objection from ineffability succeeds only if the believer 
claims to be offering an exhaustive characterization of God's na- 
ture by means of ordinary language. Believers who recognize the 
limitations of their knowledge of God, and of their ability to speak 
of Him, are not vulnerable to this objection. 

Before leaving this area, it is wise to consider other interpreta- 
tions of the objection. Some might argue that God, in His great- 
ness, is too transcendent to be experienced by a mere human. 
Claims to religious experience are a priori impossible, given the 
advertised biblical concept of God. There is something to this, of 
course. Moses was obliged to hide himself in the cleft of a rock, and 
to view Grod only after He had passed by. But to suggest that God's 


attributes prevent Him from having any contact with His creations 
is to do Him a philosophical injustice. It is to attribute to Him a 
sort of "metaphysical obesity" which is not justified by the view of 
Him given in the Scripture (from which we here are drawing our 
concept of God). As personal, God has the capacity to refrain from 
exercising His full potential. He is not an Aristotelian collection of 
rigid impersonal qualities. Though He has the power to dissolve 
the earth into its constituent elements in a burst of holy fire, He 
also has the power — at His personal command — to keep this 
from occurring when He brings a believer into His presence. 

Sometimes the objection from ineffability is made to refer to the 
spiritual (non-material) nature of God. It can also refer to the mys- 
teriousness or sometimes apparent illogicality of God's ways. Con- 
cerning God's spiritual nature, we will have more to say when 
treating the second objection. As to God's mysterious ways of 
operating, it is again acknowledged that Christians do not claim to 
possess a comprehensive knowledge of God or of His ways. 
Nonetheless, to tell a mystery, one must tell a story. It is one thing 
to be missing some of the facts; it is another not to know anything 
at all about God. To appeal to religious experience is to make the 
relatively limited claim that one knows of God, that He exists, and 
that certain things are true of His character. This state of limited 
yet significant acquaintance is no different than that which exists 
between most people, including even the closest of friends. 

2. The problem of verifiability . John Wisdom's famous parable of 
the Invisible Gardener set off" a controversy which continued for a 
number of years. ^ It concerned the question of the public testability 
of religious claims. How are claims about private, spiritual experi- 
ence to be tested? To what can the believer point as public evi- 
dence, available to all, for the truth of his or her claims? In the 
years since Wisdom put forth his parable, demands for precise 
verification have lessened. Philosophers came to realize that in 
many areas of knowledge, conclusive verification is often impossi- 
ble for the fundamental axioms and assumptions on which all in- 
quiry rests."^ Appreciation increased for the way in which struc- 
tural and systemic factors figure into our evaluation of hypotheses, 
theories and world-views. Yet the question has still remained: 
what is it which the Christian apologist is supposed to show in 
order to fulfill his or her biblical responsibility to provide reasons 
for belief? 

This is an especially crucial issue for appeals to religious experi- 
ence. When should we believe the individual who claims to have 
met or heard from God? For several years, philosophers attempted 
to defend the claim that religious experience is "self-authenticat- 
ing." For the believer who meets God, nothing could be more sure 


and indubitable. He or she^'as^ knows that God is there. While this 
is clearly an accurate account of the psychological state of many 
believers, it does not do justice to the epistemic question which in- 
evitably arises. Religious believers have all too often made mis- 
takes. The mental hospitals are well-populated with religious 
claimants, many of whom purportedly take their cues to psychotic 
behavior directly from God Himself. Even the more mentally 
balanced believer must sometimes ask whether it is God who is 
directing him or her, or whether it is an all too human impulse. 
Though some religious experiences are highly self-authenticating 
or self-convincing from a psychological point of view, the rational 
individual must always be prepared to ask whether, in fact, things 
are as they seem to be. Could he or she perhaps be deluded? 

It is here that the objector to religious experience-claims makes 
an important mistake. Since religious experience is not espistemi- 
cally self-authenticating, it must therefore be epistemically worth- 
less. D.G. Attfield, John Hick and others, however, have argued 
that this is an overreaction.^ Attfield notes an interesting analogy 
between the perception of ordinary material objects and the reli- 
gious person's claims to non-sensory phenomenological apprehen- 
sion of God. He suggests that "the same logical features hold of 
claims to apprehend God as hold with claims to perceive a material 
object."^ In the case of sense-experience, there are three standards 
commonly appealed to for deciding the question of objectivity. 
These are (1) "agreement between the data of sight and touch (and 
the other senses)," (2) "whether what is claimed to be apprehended 
fits into the structure and normal expectations of a public world of 
material objects with positions in space and enduring through 
time," and (3) "whether support from other observers is available 
in practice or at least in principle. "^^ Attfield argues that similar 
kinds of standards exist for the religious person, by which veridical 
experiences may be distinguished from those which are illusory. 
He writes: 

In the spiritual sphere a huge dimension of awareness of Grod seems 
to be available comparable to that men have through their senses 
and indeed partly overlapping with or extending the latter. A co- 
herent, conceptual scheme has in fact evolved to articulate reli- 
gious experience and to determine how items within it are to be 
described and interpreted: among and inside the enormous class 
of occasions of allegedly apprehending God, there are instances 
where it is necessary to decide on illusion or reality and canons for 
this appear to have emerged, as they have in the conceptual system 
that articulates the public world of material objects. ^^ 

That procedures exist for distinguishing between genuine and 
illusory religious experiences constitutes an important analogy 
with perception. Our perceptual experience is usually not, as a 


whole, questioned, except by a minority school of philosophers 
(sceptics) who have unusually high requirements for admissible 
truth claims. Attfield argues that, in the same way, it is only when 
epistemic standards are raised to an artificial strictness that all 
religious experience is questioned. 

Scepticism in both perception and religion is reasonable in particu- 
lar cases and procedures exist in both areas to settle disputes. But 
scepticism about whole dimensions of apprehension, it may be ar- 
gued, is radically different and may belong to that special kind of 
doubt only philosophers have. Corresponding to normal human con- 
fidence in perception it may be reasonable to claim that there is a 
conviction religious men have as part of their commonsense, that 
their experience is in general veridical and that they only need to 
reconsider their stance if weighty and irrefutable arguments can be 
brought against it.12 

Questioning whether or not these "weighty and irrefutable argu- 
ments" against theism exist, leads one, unfortunately, to the 
notorious and unsettleable question of who carries the "burden of 
proof." For my part, I am inclined to doubt whether such argu- 
ments in fact exist. The closest candidates are those reductio ad ah- 
surdum arguments which seek to demonstrate an incoherence in 
the Christian system (e.g., due to the problem of evil). Such argu- 
ments require that Christian foundational premises first be ac- 
cepted. Even if they succeed, they would thus fail to justify an ini- 
tial scepticism about the whole of religious experience. 

All this is to show that the criteria for verification of religious 
experience are extremely difficult to specify. Just as it is hard to 
imagine what would constitute criteria for the verification of the 
whole of sense-experience, so also it is difficult to imagine how the 
entire domain of spiritual experiencing could be tested. We will 
note one attempt at this when treating the third objection. Mean- 
while, we must question whether the call for verification can be 
specified adequately such that clear criteria are assigned which do 
justice to the unique nature of religious experience. 

3. The problem of reliability. There is an empirical approach to 
testing religious experience that appears most prominently in Sig- 
mund Freud's The Future of an Illusion.^^ This consists of the at- 
tempt to provide a naturalistic counter-explanation for a claimed 
religious experience. If it can be shown that what an individual 
thought to be the experience of God can be interpreted in a wholly 
non-supernatural way — e.g., as a psychological aberration — then 
the individual's appeal to another dimension is rendered unneces- 
sary. A wholly this-worldly explanation is adequate. This approach 
is particularly powerful if it can be shown that, empirically speak- 
ing, the naturalistic phenomena described are of a kind that are 
often correlated with false belief-behavior on the part of the 


individual making the claim. Thus Keith Yandell summarizes 
Freud's objection to religious experiences: 

1. Obsessional neuroses are characterized by certain factors (say, 
a, b, c, d, e, f) and the beliefs that accompany neuroses are 
known to be almost always false. 

2. Religious conviction is characterized by certain factors which 
are very similar, if not identical, to a-f, and is accompanied by 
certain beliefs. 


3. The beliefs which accompany religious conviction are very likely 
false. 14 

In this context, we will note just two of the difficulties. First, as 
Yandell points out, the fact that a belief is associated with certain 
personal or psychological characteristics in the believer does not 
guarantee, or even necessarily make it probable, that the belief 
itself is false. 15 Hosts of people hold beliefs for the strangest and 
most inadequate reasons. This may make such people unreliable as 
intellectual authorities, but it does not imply that any particular 
belief or set of beliefs is false. In order to avoid committing the 
genetic fallacy, the objector must show that the individual's belief 
is clearly the causal result of the psychological aberrations which 
characterize him or her, and that the belief is not supported by any 
other evidential claims. Even then, the person's belief, say, that 
there is a God, may be true, though the person has turned out to 
believe it for inadequate reasons. 

A second point is even more crucial. Has anyone successfully 
demonstrated that religious belief is characterized by (a)-(f)? Cer- 
tainly, some correlations are observed. As noted above, the reli- 
gious have done a rather effective job of infiltrating the mental 
hospitals. Some Christian groups studied by psychologists of re- 
ligion have scored rather badly on personality profiles, suggesting 
that their religious fervor may be the result of non-religious unre- 
solved internal conflicts. i^ And there is Freud's argument that re- 
ligious people are only seeking wish fulfillment — an argument 
which unfortunately stigmatizes anyone who achieves satisfaction 
of fulfillment through their belief-system. Charging these individ- 
uals with wish fulfillment works, however, only if it can be shown 
that this is the single reason these individuals are happy. Freud's 
arguments in The Future of an Illusion fail strikingly in this de- 
partment, i^ 

Granting that some, perhaps many, religious people are charac- 
terized in ways which suspiciously resemble judgment-aberrating 
psychological syndromes, it remains to be seen whether all relgious 
people are so characterized, i^ Here the objection begins to break 
down. Psychologists of religion, like all human spectators, tend to 
pick out the most fanatical, boisterous, and unusual groups for 


study. Often it is the constituency of these individuals in mental 
institutions which spurs the study of their etiology and habits, i^ 
Mystics making some of the more extreme claims about their ex- 
perience are also of perpetual interest. Yet many of these individ- 
uals have been the most alienated from society, and some bordered 
on heresy in their beliefs. What of the mass of relatively normal, 
uninteresting religious people who claim a daily "walk with God," 
making slow and gradual progress at self-acceptance, personkl in- 
tegration and improved relationships with others? It is sheer dog- 
matism to claim that such individuals do not exist. Because of their 
basically unexciting character (and hence anonymity), they may 
exist in numbers which far exceed anyone's expectation. 

The fact of the existence of this latter group endangers the kind 
of argument put forward as objection #3. This is particularly so if 
one considers an oft-overlooked characteristic of Christianity — 
viz., the randomness of conversion experiences. Christian converts 
can be discovered from all different economic and social back- 
grounds. Psychological histories vary: some choose to believe fol- 
lowing a tragic life or particular trauma, while others come to a 
rather non-climactic realization that God has been a real force in 
their lives. Naturalistic objections to religious experience depend 
upon correlations with specifiable psychological syndromes, which 
themselves involve a unified causal story accounting for the ap- 
pearance of the syndrome in individuals. Randomness wreaks 
havoc upon such counter-explanations by preventing the establish- 
ment of the necessary generalizations based on psycho-history, 
economic and social backgrounds, etc. Again, some religious groups 
and forms of religious behavior may lend themselves easily to such 
generalizations. We argue here, however, that when the Christian 
populace is considered on the basis of a wide sample, sufficient ran- 
domness exists to prevent the successful construction of naturalis- 
tic counter-explanations. 

In fact, the naturalistic type of objection can be turned around 
to produce a positive argument for the validity of some religious 
experiences. Just as lack of reliability may constitute an em- 
pirical means of falsifying claims to religious experience, so estab- 
lished credibility may serve the cause of empirical verification of 
religious claims. Yandell's argument schema might be rewritten as 

1. Well-integrated or self-actualizing persons are characterized by 
certain factors (a, b, c, d, e, f) and the beliefs held by such indi- 
viduals tend to be reasoned- through, reality-based and credible. 

2. Religious conviction is characterized by certain factors which 
are very similar, if not identical, to a-f, and is accompanied by 
certain beliefs. 



3. The beliefs which accompany rehgious conviction are very likely 
reasoned-out, reality -based and credible. 20 

This argument must be received with the same qualifications which 
were made upon Yandell's formulation of Freud's argument. Note 
that the argument has a familiar ring. It appears in Jesus's exhor- 
tation that "ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:16). Paul 
makes a similar appeal to personal credibility in II Corinthians: 

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being 
saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from 
death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is suf- 
ficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of 
God's word; but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the 
sight of God we speak in Christ (II Cor. 2:15-17, RSV).2i 

There is something valid about judging a person's religious tes- 
timony at least in part by his or her observed lifestyle. Thus the ob- 
jection from naturalistic counter-explanations suggests what may 
be the closet thing to an empirical verification of religious experi- 

4. The problem of alternative interpretations. A final objection to 
the appeal to experience, commonly noted in the literature, is the 
variety of interpretations of religious experience. If we look to ex- 
perience-claims for truth, then how do we decide whom to believe? 
The Hindu claims one kind of experience, the Zen Buddhist 
another kind, the Christian another. Vital to untangling this knot 
is deciding what our attitude is to be toward other religions. For 
example, as a Christian one might take one of three postures 
toward other religions. 

1. Proponents of other religions are completely deluded — they 
actually experience nothing at all 

2. Proponents of other religions are partially correct — they ex- 
perience aspects of reality 

3. Proponents of other religions are completely correct — they ex- 
perience God, but in a different way 

Immediate problems arise if we choose either the first or last 
posture. It is difficult to argue that representatives of other reli- 
gious traditions are experiencing nothing at all. This would fail to 
account for the lasting contributions which those traditions have 
made to human understanding. On the other hand, to regard them 
as experiencing the same God, but in different ways is to overlook 
the quite radical differences of belief between the major religions. 
Holding the law of non-contradiction in public scorn, some try to 
hold onto all competing interpretations at the same time. The price 
is either philosophical absurdity or the covert reintroduction of 
some one concept of God, to the detriment of the variety of insights 
of all the other contributors. 


The second posture is most preferable. It does not force an iden- 
tification of the object of experience of alternative religious tradi- 
tions with the Christian God. It also allows that individuals in 
these other traditions experience something, though not the Chris- 
tian God. Some may take a derogatory view of these experiences 
(they are experiences of the demonic); others of a more ecumenical 
stripe may ascribe value to these experiences. It is not our inten- 
tion to take a stand on the question of evaluation in this context. 

If we take the second posture, the problem of alternative in- 
terpretations disappears. Insofar as individuals of differing reli- 
gious traditions experience different objects, they do not disagree 
with each other. Their experience claims do not constitute alterna- 
tive interpretations of the same object, but rather differing experi- 
ences, with accompanying interpretations, of alternative aspects of 
reality. The appearance of alternative interpretations of one object 
arises from a constricted semantics. Despite the considerable vari- 
ety of possible "religious" experiences, a fairly limited vocabulary 
of religious terms is forced to do everyone's interpretative service. 
The result is that very different kinds of experiences, similar 
perhaps only in a limited respect, are given the same descriptive 

A different case is that of individuals of the same religious tradi- 
tion who make contradictory or differing claims. For example, 
there were the Miinsterites, who claimed that God had called them 
to a medieval form of communism, or the Montanists, who expected 
Christ to appear in second century Asia Minor. Obviously, these 
individuals, who identified themselves with the Christian tradi- 
tion, were getting very different signals from God than were their 
peers. Where this is the case, appeal must be made to the tests 
available within the relevant tradition. In this case the appeal to 
Scripture and the examination of lifestyles would be appropriate 

It is now time to sum up our discussion. Religious experience is 
not wholly self-authenticating. There is always some question as to 
whether another person, or even one's self, has veridically experi- 
enced God or correctly heard His voice. But this does not imply 
that religious experience is wholly illusory or unimportant. The ob- 
jections which we have considered fail to show that all cases of 
religious experience are either non- veridical or untestable. Our dis- 
cussion has suggested that where religious experience-claims are 
at issue, the credibility of the individual represents an important 
qualifying or disqualifying feature. Where an individual, to all 
appearances, is a rational, well-adjusted and psychologically- 
integrated person, his or her claim to religious experience deserves 
a hearing. There is no reason to a priori disqualify the individual's 


testimony, anymore than we would disqualify the verdict of sense- 
experience as to the existence and character of everyday material 
objects, simply because we sometimes make mistakes in identi- 

Appeals to religious experience are legitimate in the field of 
Christian apologetics; they deserve a hearing, provided some 
means of establishing credibility is also present at hand. Where a 
religious witness makes a brute claim to the experience of God 
with no accompanying demonstration of his or her credibility, it is 
wrong to expect others to accept the subject's claims carte blanche. 
We are thus brought back to the early Christian model of a lived 
testimony to Christ's resurrection power. Even more, we are chal- 
lenged to transform the present-day Church into a model and 
exhibition which lends credence to the claims we make about our 
private lives with God. As a requirement for the successful appeal 
to religious experience we are hence called to the urgent tasks of 
personal sanctification and corporate reformation. 


^See B. B. Warfield, "Paul's Argument from Experience," in Selected 
Shorter Writings, edited by John E. Meeter, Volume 2 (Philadelphia: Pres- 
byterian & Reformed, 1973), 142-51. 

2E.g., John W. Montgomery, "Constructive Religious Empiricism: An 
Analysis and Criticism," in The Shape of the Past (Edwards, 1962), 

^Some representative discussions are: D. G. Attfield, "The Argument 
from Religious Experience," Religious Studies 11 (1975): 335-43; Sidney 
Hook, Religious Experience and Truth (New York University Press, 1961); 
H. J. N. Horsburgh, "The Claims of Religious Experience," Australasian 
Journal of Philosophy 335 (1975): 186-200; H. D. Lewis, Our Experience of 
God (N.Y.: MacMillan, 1959); Eugene Thomas Long, "Experience and the 
Justification of Religious Belief," Religious Studies 17 (1981): 499-510; C. 
B. Martin, Religious Belief (Ithica, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1959); 
George L Mavrodes, Belief in God (N.Y.: Random House, 1970); Robert A. 
Cakes, "Religious Experience and Rational Certainty," Religious Studies 
12 (1976): 311-18; Keith E. Yandell, Basic Issues in the Philosophy of Reli- 
gion (Allyn & Bacon, 1976). 

'^See Lawrence C. Becker, "A Note on Religious Experience Arguments, 
"Religious Studies 7 (1971): 63-68. 

^Richard Swinburne, The Coherence of Theism (Oxford: Clarendon 
Press, 1977), see 50-84. 

6John Wisdom, "Gods" in Logic and Language, edited by Antony Flew 
(Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1951). See also Antony Flew, R. M. Hare, Basil 
Mitchell, "Theology and Falsification," in New Essays in Philosophical 
Theology, edited by Antony Flew and Alasdair Maclnt5n*e (London: SCM 


Press, 1955), 96-105. In the parable of the Invisible Gardener, an inves- 
tigator asks how he can hope to verify the existence of the gardener, who 
is "invisible, intangible, (and) eternally elusive." 

"^For a review, with reference to theology, see Ian G. Barbour, Myths, 
Models, and Paradigms (N.Y.: Harper & Row, 1974). 

^D. G. Attfield, op. cit.; John Hick, Arguments for the Existence of God 
(N.Y.: Herder & Herder, 1971), see esp. the last chapter. 

9Attfield, 335. 

loibid., 337. 

iilbid., 338. 


i3Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (N.Y.: W. W. Norton, 1976 

i4Yandell, op. cit., 121. 

isibid., 121-23. 

i^A useful overview of studies is James E. Dittes, "Psychology of Reli- 
gion," in The Handbook of Social Psychology, ed. by Gardner Lindsey, 
Elliot Aronson, Volume 5: Applied Social Psychology (Reading, Mass.: 
Addison-Wesley, 1969 ed.), 602-59. 

I'^See Hans Kung, Freud and the Problem of God, trans, by Edward 
Quinn (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979). 

i^See Michael Argyle, Religious Behavior (Glencoe, 111.: Glencoe, 1959). 

i^An exception to this pattern is the Journal for the Scientific Study of 
Religion, which has published studies of a broad cross-section of the reli- 
gious world in a variety of contexts. 

20A positive view of this kind is found in Abraham H. Maslow, Reli- 
gions, Values and Peak Experiences (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1976 ed.). 
See also the recently evolved genre of books concerned with religious de- 
velopment and psychological health: e.g., James W. Fowler, Stages of 
Faith (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981). 

2iSee also II Cor. 3:1-3; Gal. 1; I Thess. 1:5; 2:3-12. 


Leadership Profile — 
New Testament Style 

by Frederick J. Finks 

What are the necessary quahties that enable some pastors to 
grow large and healthy congregations while others struggle along 
in failing pastorates barely able to meet the pastor's salary and pay 
the electric bill? It is my belief that the old adage "Leaders are 
born, not made," is totally erroneous. Let me state at the outset to 
avoid any misunderstanding that there is no magical scheme that 
will transform overnight an ordinary pastor into a "Super Church- 
Growth Giant," nor are there any phone-booth secrets where a 
quick change artist can emerge as a caped crusader for God, ready 
to right all the wrongs of the world. There are likewise both pas- 
tors and churches that can not and will not grow — some because 
of location and disease, others because they are not willing to pay 
the price involved in growth. I do believe, however, that there are 
certain characteristics that can be adapted by any pastor who is 
serious about growth. Each pastor will need to make adjustments 
and corrections depending upon his own personality and make-up. 

Harold J. Fickett asserts, "There are three requirements for a 
good program within the church. The first is leadership, the second 
is leadership, and the third is leadership. "i 

Leadership is crucial and there is no way to deny its importance. 
Take any group of two or more and observe the interaction. Some- 
one will assume the leadership position if no one is appointed and 
will become the recognized leader of the group. 

In many churches across America today there is a lack of effec- 
tive leadership. The result, and in many cases the primary reason 
for ineffective leadership, is "in-house" struggles. The pastor, the 
deacon board, the trustees, etc., are all seeking power positions. In 
healthy churches, leadership has been earned and the respect for 
authority has become accepted. "In America, the primary catalytic 
factor for growth in a local church is the pastor. "2 "There is no sub- 
stitute for dynamic, aggressive, positive, inspiring leadership! 
Almost without exception, the lack of success means the lack of 
effective leadership. "^ 

This is not to say that the pastor is the only key to a growing 
church. In fact, quite the opposite is true. But he is vitally impor- 
tant and considered to be the single most important factor. There 
are certain characteristics and approaches in ministry that support 
the foundation for growth and enhance the leadership ability of 


pastors. These areas include spiritual renewal, spiritual gifts, and 
leadership style. 

Spiritually Renewed 

Many pastors today would readily admit that they have often felt 
unworthy to be involved in ministry. "It is normal for the pastor of 
a growing church to deny that he is a primary key to growth. For 
one thing, this is due to sincere Christian humility. These pastors 
are men of God."'* God, for some unknown reason, has entrusted 
mankind with all its weaknesses and imperfections to carry forth 
the perfect plan of God. It was with Peter's simple statement "Thou 
art the Christ, the Son of the living God"^ that Jesus said he would 
build His church and not even the gates of hell could overpower it. 

Thus God continues to look for people to lead His church — 
people who will be renewed and committed to the ongoing procla- 
mation of His Word. It is crucial that these leaders be in tune with 
God. Failure to do so invites disaster. The task of ministry is so un- 
like any other occupation known to man. . . 

We dare not measure spiritual success by worldly standards. What 
is a successful ministry? In other vocations, the success of a man is 
usually measured in terms of the visible results which he is able to 
produce, the esteem in which he is held by his colleagues, the sal- 
ary which his services are able to command. In spiritual ministry, 
we dare not apply the usual formula. It is not what my colleagues 
think of me that counts, but what does God think of me? . . . 
Basically and ultimately, there is only one criterion of success. Am 
I fulfilling the will of God in my life?^ 

Spiritual renewal is therefore one of the most important charac- 
teristics of the spiritual qualifications necessary for ministry. The 
dangers that face the pastor who is out of tune with God will result 
in failure and frustration. 

J.I. Packer presents a three-phased approach to bring renewal 
and a growing relationship with God. 

First, knowing Grod is a matter of personal dealing, as is all direct 
acquaintance with personal beings. Knowing God is more than 
knowing about Him; it is a matter of dealing with Him as He opens 
up to you, and being dealt with by Him as He takes knowledge of 
you. . . . 

Second, knowing God is a matter of personal involvement, in mind, 
will and feeling. It would not, indeed, be a fully personal relation- 
ship otherwise. To get to know another person, you have to commit 
yourself with his concerns. . . . 

Then, third, knowing God is a matter of grace. It is a relationship 
in which the initiative throughout is with God as it must be, since 
Grod is so completely above us and we have so completely forfeited 


all claim on His favour by our sins. We do not make friends with 
God; God makes friends with us, bringing us to know Him by mak- 
ing His love known to us7 

Personal renewal comes by opening up oneself before the Living 
God and by making a commitment for a personal encounter with 
God to discover His will, His direction, and His leadership for 
ministry. It is not a one-shot encounter. It is a constant, everyday 
involvement. Spiritual renewal offers both encouragement and a 
renewed sense of worth. Effective leadership is spiritual leader- 
ship. It is not going it alone. It is not trusting in human knowledge, 
personality, gifts or abilities, rather it is trusting in God, being led 
by Him, receiving His gifts and incorporating them into the 
Church with God's blessing. 

Spiritual Gifts 

A second characteristic of the successful pastor centers around 
the concept of spiritual gifts. What exactly is a spiritual gift? "A 
spiritual gift is a special attribute given by the Holy Spirit to every 
member of the Body of Christ according to God's grace for use 
within the context of the Body."^ 

Briefly, spiritual gifts are characteristics enhanced by the direc- 
tion of God, given to all believers for the uplifting and unifying of 
the church. Spiritual gifts are not given for self-glorification, nor 
for individual use apart from the body. They are given to support 
the body, to make it more rounded. Individual spiritual gifts com- 
plement one another as they are practiced corporately. Spiritual 
gifts are important if the church is to be equipped for effective 

The use of spiritual gifts has often been severely limited. No 
doubt the main reason lies in the failure of the church to teach per- 
sons about spiritual gifts. Another reason lies with each Chris- 
tian's failure to search out his own particular gifts. 

The largest accounting of spiritual gifts is found in Paul's letters: 
Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. For this study on 
leadership, the passage that best applies is that of Ephesians 4: 
"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as 
evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of 
the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of 

The apostles were recognized by the early church as those who 
had been with Christ and, as such, were his representatives com- 
manding authority. They possessed the Spirit of God in that they 
performed signs and wonders, were responsible for healing, and 
spoke boldly of the resurrection of Christ. They were responsible 


for spreading out from Jerusalem with the gospel, for beginning 
new churches, and for choosing men to do the work of ministry. 

The evangelists were those who proclaimed Christ's message to 
those who would hear and become disciples. Philip, an apostle, was 
instructed by an angel of the Lord to go to a desert road in Gaza. 
Here Philip encountered the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading 
from the scroll of Isaiah. Philip preached unto him the words of 
Christ, whereupon the Ethiopian requested baptism. Following 
this, "Philip found himself in Azotus; and as he passed through 
he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities, until he came to 

The pastor, or pastor-teacher as some refer to him, is one who is 
directly responsible for the care and shepherding of a body of be- 
lievers. The pastor has two main responsibilities: guarding himself 
lest he fall into sin and shepherding the flock. 

These gifts of leadership mentioned in Ephesians 4 were given 
". . . for the equipping of the saints for the work of service." This 
meant that the apostles were to be responsible for training others 
to lead. Effective leadership was shared leadership where other be- 
lievers were given the responsibility, along with the apostles, to 
participate in the work and ministry of the church. 

As seen through this very limited search of the Scriptures, 
leadership in the early Church was placed in the hands of spiritu- 
ally capable men who possessed spiritual gifts of leadership. 

Today there is still a need for spiritually endowed leaders to take 
charge of God's work within the church. The scriptural mandate of 
Timothy and Titus with qualifications for elders (leaders) above re- 
pute, is still mandatory today. To ask for, or to accept anything 
less, will not do. If the church is to grow, quality must be invested 
in leadership. 

It would be well if each present-day denomination and each local 
church would take this list and lay it alongside a list of the leaders 
prescribed by the church's official organizational structure and, be- 
fore Gk)d, make a comparison. Are the lists comparable at all? How 
does the church actually function compared with what the Word of 
God says? 11 

It is important to note that there is no one form of church organi- 
zation to be found in the New Testament. However, the one concept 
that is found in every system is spiritual leadership. Howard A. 
Snyder says of such leadership, "All leadership in the church, 
therefore, is based on spiritual gifts."i2 

Lloyd Perry has a good description of an effective pastor: 

An evangelical pastor is expected to be an informed man, thought- 
ful, apt in independent investigation, and well oriented in respect 
to all truth. He is to be a man of integrity, truthful, honest, self- 


controlled, and morally pure. He is to be a man who is emotionally 
mature. He should be gracious, cheerful, positive, and cultured. 

As a Christian, he should be committed to Christ, sensitve to the 
Spirit of God, and faithful in using the means of grace. He must be 
rooted in biblical truth, conscious of his position within historical 
Christianity, aware of his responsibility to the whole Christian 
community, and constant in his witnessing for Jesus Christ. 

As a servant of Christ in the church, he ought to be oriented sym- 
pathetically toward the problems of his contemporaries and be alert 
to ways in which God's Word may be applied in specific concrete 
situations. He must be able to communicate the Gospel effectively. 
He should be able to provide challenging leadership. There should 
be a positive relationship maintained with the denomination in 
which he labors, and he should be appreciative of the traditions and 
contributions of other denominations. 

An effective pastor is a very important factor in getting a church on 
target. He should be God's man in God's place in God's time.^^ 

If the pastor is to be successful in his calling, he must become an 
expert in his field. A brain surgeon dare not fly by the seat of his 
pants unless he wants to lose (literally) his constituents. Likewise, 
the pastor must prepare himself to be the most effective leader ac- 
cording to his God-given abilities. This involves recognizing per- 
sonal gifts and learning to use them to their highest potential. 

Many pastors also fear what spiritual gifts may do to the church. 
There is justification for this feeling since the use of certain 
spiritual gifts can cause division when used improperly. There are 
biblical guidelines for using spiritual gifts. As has been previously 
pointed to, spiritual gifts are given to Christians for the common 
good. The three main passages on spiritual gifts all give reference 
to this: 

. . . for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the 
building up of the body of Christ, i"* 

For just as we have many members in one body and all the mem- 
bers do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one 
body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 15 

But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the com- 
mon good. 16 

Spiritual gifts are for the body. Any exercise of spiritual gifts other 
than in and for the body is non-biblical and detrimental to the 
whole body as well as the individual. 

Spiritual gifts are God's way of blessing the church through the 
Holy Spirit. He equips the church for ministry. His spirit fills and 
renews the person, giving the full awareness that God is in control 
and bringing all things together in unity. Discovery and utilization 
of these God given gifts are important to the success and health of 
a growing church. 


Servant Leadership 

The third characteristic of a successful pastor deals more with 
the style of ministry. There are many styles and patterns for minis- 
try, but my personal feeling is that one particular style outweighs 
all the rest and is most closely aligned with my own theological 
position. That style has become commonly known as the Servant- 

In the thirteenth chapter of John, Jesus presents a beautiful 
example of the servant-leader by washing the feet of His disciples: 

You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right; for so I am. If I 
then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to 
wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also 
should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not 
greater than his master; neither one who is sent greater than the 
one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you 
do them.i'^ 

Lawrence O. Richard in A New Face for the Church devotes a 
chapter on "Leadership in the Church," in which he states several 
important facets of the servant-leader: 

. . . scriptural leadership requires the leader to be completely open 
in his relationship with others, and that he become deeply involved 
in their lives. . . . The ability of a leader to help and guide others 
never rests on his own accomplishment or perfection. . . . The 
servant-leader must share himself and give himself in his ministry 
to the church. Nor is there room for impersonal leadership, that 
withdraws from depth relationship with others in the body.^^ 

There is indeed a pattern of leadership and authority that exists 
within the context of New Testament Christianity as presented by 
Jesus that reflects a dramatic change from that of normal human 

Where the disciples argued about priority and place of promi- 
nence, Jesus responded, 

You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles 
lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over 
them. But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become 
great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be 
first among you shall be slaves of all. For even the Son of Man did 
not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for 
many. 19 

It would do well for pastors to adopt these principles expressed by 
Jesus as relevant to the authority in the church today. All too often 
there seems to be a struggle for leadership. In too many cases, the 
pastor is drawn up on one side and the congregation or deacon 
board on the other. There is some misconception that the two are 
natural enemies. Some congregations develop the misunderstand- 


ing that since they have homesteaded this church, no one (includ- 
ing the pastor) can change things without their approval. And thus 
they are locked into battle, dueling to the death or at least as long 
as it takes them to run the pastor out of town. 

Likewise, some pastors act as if they are the means of salvation 
to their newly inherited charge. Whereas other pastors failed mis- 
erably in moving the congregation off dead center, such would not 
be the case this time. No matter what it takes, no matter what the 
cost, this time change will come even if it means driving some 
families away or splitting the church. 

The above two scenarios unfortunately have been acted out all 
too many times in congregations across the country. It is a classic 
case of humanistic leadership versus servant-leadership. 

Servant-leadership requires a completely open and honest re- 
lationship between all parties. There are no hidden agendas or 
power plays going on behind the others back. Servant-leaderhip re- 
quires forgiveness and healing. 

An experience in my early years as a pastor almost caused ir- 
reparable damage to my church, some individuals, and myself. It 
was over an incident that was quite small, but because of a misun- 
derstanding it had grown into gigantic proportions seeking to de- 
vour everyone. After that unnerving experience our church began 
to practice a kind of caring and openness that continued through 
my entire pastorate there. 

Our Board of Directors and myself covenanted together to deal 
swiftly and honestly with every problem no matter how small. 
Whenever gossip surfaced, the truth was investigated by talking to 
those involved. When someone expressed concern or alarm over 
a given situation, they received a pastoral call to deal with it 

New families who began attending our church were informed of 
our concern for every individual and their problems. If they 
thought something was amiss they were to feel free to bring it to 
our attention. It soon became apparent to everyone that we indeed 
cared about their feelings and would work together in solving any 
problem openly and honestly. 

Now I would be naive to think that we were able to please every- 
one and wrong to suppose that every problem was solved before 
someone had hurt feelings, but I am convinced that we made a tre- 
mendous impact on more lives than not. People felt comfortable to 
disagree without becoming angry or resorting to threats. Modeling 
of servant-leadership on the part of the pastoral staff and Board of 
Directors found its way into the hearts and lives of the people. 

So it is with leadership today. Pastors who are willing to pay the 
price will see results. It takes no magic combination of personal 


traits, but a Godly willingness to follow Christ's model. "Have this 
attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, al- 
though He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with 
God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of 
a bond-servant. . . He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to 
the point of death, even death on a cross. "20 

"If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. "21 


^Harold L. Fickett, Hope for Your Church: Ten Principles of Church 
Growth (Philadelphia: Pilgrim Press, 1969), p. 83. 

2C. Peter Wagner, Your Church Can Grow (Glendale: Regal Books, 1976), 
p. 55. 

^Robert Schuller, Your Church Has Real Possibilities (Glendale: Regal 
Books, 1974), p. 48. 

^Wagner, op. cit., p. 56. 

SMatthew 16:16 (NAS). 

^Melvin Hodges, Grow Toward Leadership (Chicago: Moody Press, 1960), 
p. 8. 

■^J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove: Inter- Varsity Press, 1973), 
pp. 34-36. 

^C. Peter Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow 
(Glendale: Regal Books, 1978), p. 42. 

9Ephesians 4:11-12 (NAS). 

lOActs 8:40 (NAS). 

i^Howard A. Snyder, The Community of the King (Downers Grove: Inter- 
Varsity Press, 1977), p. 94. 

I2lbid., p. 85. 

i^Lloyd Perry, Getting the Church on Target (Chicago: Moody Press, 
1977), pp. 10-11. 

i4Eph. 4:12 (NAS). 

iSRom. 12:4-5 (NAS). 

161 Cor. 12:7 (NAS). 

i7John 13:13-17 (NAS). 

i^Lawrence O. Richards, A New Face for the Church (Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1970), pp. 114-15. 

i9Mark 10:42-45 (NAS). 

20Philippians 2:5-8 (NAS). 

2iJohn 13:17 (NAS). 


The Future Of The Church 

by Joseph R. Shultz 

Ecclesiology and the Future of the Church. The future of the 
Church is directly related to the strength of the teaching of the doc- 
trine of Christ. 

The Lord of the church, Jesus Christ, is the only basis of the true 
church. The "establishment" of the church is not in its organization 
or historic manifestation but in its Lord. The power of the church is 
not in its membership, but its Master. The resurrected Christ — at 
the right hand of God — is the only "establishment." The Lord of the 
church came "to give His life a ransom for many," and "who, being 
in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but 
made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a serv- 
ant, and was made in the likeness of men; and, being found in fash- 
ion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, 
even the death on the cross" (Phil. 2:6-8). 

The Church does not try to glorify itself but seeks to subordinate 
itself to its witness, placing itself without any reservation in the 
service and under the control of that which is the Lord's. However, it 
seems that the characteristic temptation and trend of the church is 
in representing itself rather than the justification-sanctification 
which has taken place in Jesus Christ. An analysis of our time 
might well reveal that in no era since the Reformation has the 
evangelical church endangered its witness with the image of "estab- 
lishment," even to the mitigation of the truth that its existence is 
only valid as it points beyond itself and to the living Christ. Never 
before has the church had so many vested interests which it guards 
often under the guise of tradition and sacred doctrine. 

The teaching of the Christological doctrine as foundational to 
ecclesiology precludes establishment and predicates the provisional 
nature of the church. The church is always moving toward the es- 
chaton. Certainly the basic interpretation of Eph. 4:11-15 is that the 
very vocations in the church — apostles, prophets, evangelists, pas- 
tors, teachers — are established for its provisional nature, "till we 
all come." It is provisional because it has not yet attained final 
achievement, nor will it ever do so. The church, like the apostle 
Paul, must say, "I count not myself till apprehended; but this one 
thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching 
forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for 
the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13, 14). 

The church is always a movement, — a movement with a goal — 


established in the person and work of Christ. The movement con- 
tinues in history and becomes universal insofar as its conclusion is 
the glory of its Lord. We must resist the semblance of a church 
whose primary aim is self-glorification. In history the "movement" 
of the church has displayed inherent power to challenge both those 
within and without its membership. 

The church is the provisional "today" in the eternal truth — 
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8). 
The provisional representation of today is validated only as it is re- 
lated to the "yesterday" and the "forever" of Christ. For the Chris- 
tian this is the point of reference which gives meaning to both his- 
tory and time. Because of the church's stance in time, its "fitting" 
is always made relevant by its Lord. In other words, the methods of 
the movement of the church are always made applicable by the 
representation of Christ in time. In this sense the church is never 
completely fitted (Katapti ov - a perfectly adjusted adaptation) ^ for 
its task, but is always being fitted by the quickening power of his 
Holy Spirit. The dynamic of the Spirit must bring relevance to the 
methods of the movement of the church, if there is going to be rele- 

Edification and the Future of the Church. What is the meaning of 
the New Testament term "edification" as applied to the church? In 
the Septuagint the word oikodomai appears 17 times. In St. Paul's 
epistles oikodoma occurs 14 times. Of course we know that the 
basic meaning of the term is "the act of building." The term 
oikodomos is a builder, an architect. The derived term oikodomia is 
a building of a house. Earlier usage of the term oikodoma was as 
an abstract noun, but in time the noun had a tendency to become 
concrete and is found here in a rather transitional sense. Paul's 
usage of the term in relation to the church caused its meaning to 
become "edification."2 

Cjod is the builder of the church. Christ declares, "I will build my 
church. . . ." (Matt. 16:18). The passage in II Corinthians 5:1 is very 
interesting in this topical context: (Oikodoman ek theou echomen, 
oikian acheiropoiaton) "A building proceeding from God as builder." 
The direction of action and the power of operation is strongly felt in 
the first part of the passage, then the result of the operation is 
afterwards expressed. God, the architect of heaven and earth, is 
also the architect of the church upon the earth in time. He is not 
only at the cornerstone in His son Jesus Christ, but He also re- 
mains as the one providing the elements of the building and the 
one setting them in their proper place. He is not one who simply 
puts up His sign on the job and then becomes an absentee foreman, 
but one who remains active day and night in heaven and in earth 
concerning his community of faithful (cf. Psalm 139). It is God in 


Christ through the Holy Spirit who concretely directs the activity 
and determines the actions of men in this work of building and 
growing in Himself. The Christian community is what it is in as 
much as He is present, speaking and acting as the chief architect. 

Thus, what is commonly described as "edification" is more essen- 
tially the sanctifying work of God in the Christian community. 
Edification is the process of both proclamation and the progressive 
results of that proclamation. The adoration of God in Christ through 
the Gospel is basic to the building and growing of the ecclesia. This 
interpretation and emphasis brings greater correlation between the 
New Testament terms building, body, and temple. This basic in- 
terpretation, however, must be guarded from becoming centered an- 
thropologically rather than christologically. In other words, in an ul- 
timate sense Christ is the author and the finisher of the edifying 
process of the church and man enters into the process by praise, 
prayer, and worship. 

In ordinary construction and growth there are usually finished 
works; however, in the Christian community there is always a prog- 
ressive movement upon that which is already established. In the 
church there is no such thing as a finished task. Every work and ac- 
tivity in a sense is a repetition of that already taken place and that 
which is to come. The Christian community looks for and waits upon 
the completed edifice which will be consummated only in the escha- 

Evangelism and the Future of the Church. The evangelism of the 
church is not just predicated upon an historic distant command, but 
by a present distinct work of grace going on in the world through the 
Holy Spirit. Of the many scriptural passages which could be cited, II 
Corinthians 5:17-20 is selected: 

"Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things 
are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things 
are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and 
hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was 
in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their tres- 
passes unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of rec- 
onciliation. Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though 
God did beseech you by us; we beg you in Christ's stead, be ye rec- 
onciled to Grod." 

In this great passage we are met with the singular truth that we 
enter into the work of Christ. We do not initiate or control 
evangelism, nor are we the continuance of the incarnation of Christ, 
but simply participants in the ministry of the reconciliation of God 
in Christ. In the earlier verses of this section we learn that repen- 
tance, faith, regeneration, new creation, is due to what God has done 
for us. Paul describes the process in saying, "God recon- 


ciled us to Himself through Christ," which in fact brings us to the 
point of genuine evangelism. 

God effected our reconciliation, which by its essence makes us am- 
bassadors of reconciliation. The present participles, "engaged in re- 
conciling to himself," "engaged in not reckoning to them their trans- 
gressions," reveal that God is busy transforming enemies into 
friends. This work of God is occurring. It is now in process and is the 
basis of Christian evangelism. 

The last part of the 19th verse transfers the work of the ministry 
of Christian evangelism from Christ to the Christian: ". . . and 
hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." The present 
participle in the first part of the verse gives way to an aorist: "hath 
deposited it in our charge." This true evangelism has been placed 
into our hands by God, God is doing this wonderous work, through 
His ambassadors bringing reconciliation and pardon from sin to 
the world, "in them," the individuals in the world. From this pas- 
sage we begin to realize just how much is conveyed to us. The very 
word of reconciliation (deposited with us) is a mighty word! How 
dare anyone alter, change, or reduce this word committed unto 
them. How dare we act as if we were dealing with men, or let men 
think they are dealing only with us. Must we not then be very 
careful of this high office? Ambassasdors are absolutely responsible 
to their king. 

The specific term "euaggelispas" evangelist, is rather limited in 
the New Testament (Acts 21:8; Ephesians 4:11; II Timothy 4:5). The 
picture of an evangelist from these passages is of one who spreads 
the Gospel in new places. We have the example of Philip who first 
worked in Samaria (Acts 8:6-14) and who also worked along the 
coast up to Caesarea (Acts 8:40). It seems that the New Testament 
evangelists are nearer to our modern missionaries in ministry and 

A complete understanding of "evangelism" must be taken into ac- 
count when forming its methods. In other words, we tend to use the 
same methods for those who never heard the Gospel before and those 
who are immunized by having heard it so many, many times. From 
the strict New Testament sense can we really say that in com- 
munities where the Gospel has been preached many times, 
evangelism is not a primary work? Perhaps God is trying to tell us 
today that in those communities where there are many good 
churches teaching the genuine Gospel of Christ, edification should 
be its primary purpose, enabling the evangelists to go out into the 
new places where evangelism is a primary need. 

Sometimes these "new places" are in the "old places" such as 
inner-cities, university campuses, transportation terminals, and 
communication medias. Isn't it conceivable that it might be to the 


greater glory of God for a local church to rent space at O'Hare Air- 
port, or Cleveland Hopkins, or Washington National and establish 
a chapel with 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Christian service than to 
sit through more "saturating" services? Can evangelical churches 
justify more brick and mortar? Or should we admit that its easier 
to set up brick and mortar than to seek out living souls? 

The factors for future effective evangelism are described by vari- 
ous scholars. In Thielicke's book, The Trouble with the Church, he 
writes of "The Decay of the Language of Preaching." This speaks to 
us today. 

Again and again at Easter services I am shocked by the casual, 
matter of course way in which the news that Christ is risen is 
taken. Anyone who has really grasped what that means would be 
rocked in his seat. And at least a few times I also noticed the shak- 
ing of the foundations that occur when a powerful sermon really 
communicates the meaning of the Easter message. When that mes- 
sage dawns on us we are suddenly surrounded by life, where before 
we had our mortgaged past at our back, and ahead of us only a fu- 
ture beset with anxieties. Then life suddenly looks different, and 
then a man will also live differently. 

To suggest that the language of preaching is decayed is not to 
suggest that we are to disregard all "Biblical" language, nor to re- 
string the common words in a new sequence which may bring con- 
fusion and even heresy. Francis Schaeffer has put it well: "The 
general evangelicals are often articulating slogans rather than 
communicating ideas." Carl Henry remarked, "the element miss- 
ing in much evangelical theological writing is an air of exciting re- 
levance." However, the language of our day must be understood 
and, to a degree, included in forms of evangelism. Certainly 
evangelicals who place such weight on the very words of Scripture 
have the equal responsibility of "selecting specific words" in 
preaching and evangelism. Is it a fair indictment to say that 
evangelicals who are so careful with scriptural words are the most 
careless in their words of preaching and teaching, and that liberals 
who are so careless with the words of Scripture are so very careful 
with their words of preaching and teaching? Evangelism in the 
20th Century demands specific preparation and careful use of 
Scriptural and Gospel preaching. 

Times demand diversity of method and do not allow for the em- 
phasis of one method to the demise of another. Modern evangelism 
must face the historic fact of change. How much artificial conser- 
vatism, and how many later interpretations and constructions, con- 
ceal the sober fact that even what seems the most solid form in 
which the community has existed and still exists in time are no 
less radically subject to decay and destruction than all other forms 
of human historic life? These forms may go back four or fourteen 


centuries, but their continuity does not constitute a genuine basis 
on which one may know the truth of the promise of Matthew 16:18. 
Finally, it is the Bible which has always spoken afresh to each 
new generation. It is the Scriptures which uphold the church; it is 
not something which Christians can fabricate by their own Bible 
lectures and Bible studies . . . not even by the Scriptural principle, 
but by the very power of Scripture itself. It has been stated that it 
is not only Spirit who creates, sustains, and extends the church but 
according to Ephesians 6:17 it is the sword of the spirit, the word of 
God, which protects and defends it. And it is a true phenomenon 
that both the community and the world are reluctant to allow the 
word to be spoken unto it in its original and authentic form; how- 
ever, it is only as this comes to pass that the world will know Him. 


iLightfoot on I Thess. 3:10. Katapti ov, "fitting together" in its classical 
use, is reconciling political factions; its use in surgery is for setting bones. 
In the New Testament it is used of bringing a thing into its proper condi- 
tion, whether for the first time, or as more commonly, after lapse. 

2J. A. Robinson, St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, pp. 164-65. 


THESES (1982-1983) 

We are extremely proud of our students and the research that they pursue. 
We have asked them to share a short summary of their completed theses at 
ATS in the hope that others may be made aware of these sources. The theses 
are bound and in the ATS Library. Those graduates that responded are 
listed below. 

Charles E. Burkett, The Common Fire: An Examination of the 
Theological/Spiritual Kinships Between the Wesleyan Holiness 
Movement and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. 

At the heart of the Wesleyan Holiness Movement and the Catholic 
Charismatic Renewal, buried beneath heavy theological and cultural en- 
crustations, there lies a single experience of radical spiritual renewal. 
Each movement feels that this renewal comes to those who earnestly seek 
it and who are in submission to the Spirit's movement. Each feels that it is 
characterized by love which effects moral transformation and spiritual vit- 
ality, especially as expressed in Christian service and worship. Assigned 
various labels, it is a work of the Holy Spirit in which the image of God is 
renewed within the believer. Differences obviously exist between the two, 
but these are largely attributable to differences of interpretation — the 
hard facts of experience are the same and the conclusions of theology are 
essentially similar. Neither exhausts the richness of spiritual renewal and 
may be profited in being advised by the other. 

Melody Annette Funk, Family Devotions: Studies, Surveys, and 

What does Scripture say about practicing family devotions? What are 
some Christians doing with family devotions? And what are some good 
ways to apply scriptural teaching and suggest workable ideas for family 
devotions? These questions sent me first of all to Scripture, then to 
families in my home church and companies that publish family devotional 
materials, and finally to many books on the subject by Christian men and 
women. The answers I found convinced me that while family devotions is 
not commanded in God's Word, what I have called "the family devotion 
lifestyle" is commanded (Deuteronomy 6). So family devotions is just one 
way for parents to fulfill their responsibility of teaching the Bible to their 
children. I encourage the practice of family devotions within a whole con- 
text of lifestyle and have done so in this project by giving clear scriptural 
principles as well as realistic and practical suggestions to parents who 
really want to apply the commands of Deuteronomy 6 and other passages 
to their family lives. 

Alberta Holsinger, Train Up a Child: A Manual of Christian Instruc- 
tion for Eight to Twelve Year Olds 

This manual was developed to be part of the continuous, on-going pro- 
gram of Christian instruction in the church. Its purpose is to build on what 
the children are learning at home and in the church about the Christian 
way of life as presented in the Bible and through the insights into these 
teachings as revealed to Brethren. The ten sessions consider: Who Is a 
Christian?; Who Is a Brethren?; Being a Christian. Each session includes 
Scripture, a story/discussion of the theme, a worksheet, and a number of 
activities related to the topic. All material has been developed within the 


language, comprehension, and interest levels of middler/junior age chil- 
dren. It is designed to aid the teacher in preparation and presentation of 
each session. 

William Jolliff, The Transworld Trinity: A Logical Defense of the 
Triune Godhead 

Working from the presupposition that every biblical doctrine is totally 
logical, the author uses possible worlds semantics in a defense of the doc- 
trine of divine triunity. Although this is a philosophical study, it is geared 
toward the non-logician. There is a purposeful avoidance of unnecessary 
technical terminology, and explanatory chapters introducing possible 
worlds logic are included. 

Dennis J. Wilson, The Holocaust Phenomena: Historical Correlations 
Between Racism Today and the Nazi Era 

After a summary of the major points developed by the thesis, the intro- 
duction challenges the reader to consider the present racial situation and 
his response to it as a Christian. The first chapter provides an historical 
overview of the conditions which existed in Germany before and during 
the Hitler era. In the second chapter, a study of Hitler and his minions in- 
dicates that all of the Nazi perpetrators were not lunatics. The final chap- 
ter draws analogies between Nazi Germany and present day America. 
Many similarities are present. Unfortunately, people have not changed all 
that much in the last forty years. 

Gary Wooden, A Gathering of Believers: Protestant Roots of the 
Small Group Movement 

Chapter One examines the two-fold nature of early Christianity — small 
group structures for nurture, evangelism, and discipleship versus the large 
group structures for corporate worship and celebration. The Christian and 
Jewish roots of small groups are uncovered as well as the factors which 
contributed to their success. Then, the disappearance of small groups 
along with the resulting lack of mission and increasing passivity are 
linked with the rise of monasticism. 

Chapter Two explores the development of Luther's doctrine of the priest- 
hood of all believers. Luther's early strategy for the reformation of the 
church is found to be closely linked with the gathering of earnest Chris- 
tians into small groups for intensive instruction, nurture, and fellowship. 
The failure to carry out this concept is then associated with the intrusion 
of the State into the affairs of the Lutheran Church. 

Chapter Three is a discussion of the movement known as Pietism and 
the role that the early Pietists envisioned for small groups in the further 
reformation of the church. The roots of the collegia, conventicles, and 
ecclesiolae in ecclesia are discovered in relation to Philip Jacob Spener's 
strategy for reformation centering in the widespread use of collegia or 
small groups. 

Chapter Four elaborates on the rise of the renewed Moravian Church 
under the leadership of Count Ludwig von Zinzendorf. The manner in 
which Zinzendorf adapted the Pietist's collegia into the organizational 
structure of the community of Hermhut is discussed. The awakening of 
Continental Pietism under Zinzendorf is then associated with one phase of 
the general awakening of the eighteenth century. 

Chapter Five is an exposition of the long tradition of the collegia and 


religious societies (small groups) in the American colonies. Their roots are 
traced, their roles in the revivals of Frelinghuysen and Edwards are 
explored, and their widespread appearance and impact during the Great 
Awakening are documented. Lastly, the Great Awakening is associated 
with the second phase of the general awakening of the eighteenth century. 

Chapter Six considers the role that small groups played in the success of 
early Methodism which is seen as the third phase of the general awaken- 
ing. The roots of the Methodist bands and classes are determined and the 
relationship of Wesley to previous small group movements is discussed. 

Chapter Seven draws together all of the conclusions which have arisen 
regarding the small group movement within early Protestanism. 










Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio Fall 1984 


Ashiand Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 


Fall 1984 


Introduction to the Current Issue 

Ninety Years of Brethren Women in Ministry 
by Jerry R. Flora 

Women in the Ministry of Jesus 
by Ben Witherington, III 

Two Seminaries Or One: A Plea For A Black- White 
Dialogue On Theological Education 
by William H. Myers 

Steeple Sitters 

by Mary Ellen Drushal 





Editorial Committee: 

David A. Rausch, Editor 
William H. Myers 
Ben Witherington, III 

—Volume XVII No. 1 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

Introduction To The Current Issue 

In this 1984 issue, our contributors discuss a variety of issues 
that face the ministry today. Dr. Jerry R. Flora, Professor of New 
Testament and Theology, provides a historical overview of the con- 
tribution of women in the ministry of the Brethren Church. In 
"Ninety Years of Brethren Women in Ministry," Dr. Flora at- 
tempts to describe as accurately as possible the activities of Breth- 
ren women recognized as ministers from 1894 to 1984. He suggests 
some possible answers that account for the decline of women in the 
formal ministry of the Brethren Church today. Reaching farther 
back into the past in order to clearly interpret God's purpose for 
women in ministry in the present, Dr. Ben Witherington, III, As- 
sistant Professor of Biblical and Wesleyan Studies, in "Women in 
the Ministry of Jesus," seeks to strike a balance between Jesus as a 
"traditionalist" and Jesus as a "feminist." Based upon his recent 
book. Women in the Ministry of Jesus (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni- 
versity Press, 1984), Professor Witherington is particularly con- 
cerned that an accurate portrayal of the place of women in the 
Christian community be provided so that the Spirit is not quenched 
as he works in the lives of the women of God. 

Our third article is by Dr. William H. Myers, Assistant Professor 
of Urban Ministries at Ashland Theological Seminary. Professor 
Myers provides an honest and earnest evaluation of theological 
education as it relates to the black community. In "Two Seminaries 
or One: A Plea for a Black- White Dialogue on Theological Educa- 
tion," Professor Myers is concerned about the failure of the theolog- 
ical academic community to enter into sincere black-white dialogue 
on this subject. This failure results in divisive and inadequate solu- 
tions to one of the most challenging problems that faces the minis- 
try today. 

Our sermonic piece is provided by Professor Mary Ellen Drushal, 
Assistant Professor of Christian Education. In "Steeple Sitters," 
she challenges the Christian to overcome the visual distortion that 
marrs a vibrant ministry and to follow the total teaching of Scrip- 
ture as it relates to loving one's neighbor. 

We at Ashland Theological Seminary are pleased that Professors 
Drushal, Myers and Witherington (relative newcomers to the ATS 
faculty) have joined us in providing a broad theological education 
for our diverse student body. I am particularly pleased that Dr. 
Myers and Dr. Witherington are now members of the editorial com- 
mittee of the Ashland Theological Journal. 

— David A. Rausch, Editor 

Ninety Years Of Brethren Women 
In Ministry 

by Jerry R. Flora^ 

When the Progressive wing of the German Baptist Brethren or- 
ganized in 1882-83 as the Brethren Church, they moved quickly to 
grant women the privilege and responsibility of church leadership. 
The first General Conference met in 1882, the second in 1887, and 
the third in 1892, after which they met annually. By 1894 both the 
General Conference and most of the district conferences had passed 
resolutions favoring the equality of men and women in the church 
or the inclusion of women in the ranks of pastors and mis- 

The first woman was ordained in 1890, but no collection today 
contains the denomination's periodical. The Brethren Evangelist, 
for the years 1890-93. Therefore, this study of Brethren women in 
ministry must begin at 1894, the earliest year for which such 
record exists. The purpose of the article is not to argue for or 
against the right of women to be ordained or serve as pastors,^ but 
to describe as accurately as possible the activities of those who 
were recognized as ministers in the Brethren Church. The method 
will be to take "soundings" at fifteen-year intervals in the period 
1894 to 1984, summarizing what was published in The Brethren 
Evangelist. Not every women designated as a minister will be men- 
tioned, but only those active in the fifteen-year increments. 


It has been estimated that, when the Brethren Church began in 
1883, it had about 6,000 members. A dozen years later 12,700 
members were reported in 173 congregations.'* 

(1) MARY MALINDA STERLING (1859-1933) of Masontown, 
Pennsylvania, was the first woman to be ordained in the Brethren 
Church (1890). She was also the first president of the national 
women's auxiliary, the Sisters' Society of Christian Endeavor 
(S.S.C.E.), which she led from its founding in 1887 until 1892. The 
year 1894 opened with a report that she had been holding revival 
meetings at Masontown and Middle Run in Fayette County, 
Pennsylvania, and had baptized two persons in the Monongahela 
River.^ The Middle Run meeting closed on January 30, with 
another convert who was to be baptized by her brother. Rev. A.J. 

In June the denomination learned that she had spent seven 
months in evangelistic preaching in West Virginia and Pennsyl- 


Vianna Detwiler 

Mary Pence 

Dr. Florence 
Newberry Gribble 

vania. During this time she had preached 207 sermons in 187 days, 
receiving 27 additions to the church, 18 of whom she herself bap- 
tized. She commented that the reception of "woman's preaching" 
was more favorable than she might have expected.^ Some indica- 
tion of the truth of this was shown when Mary Sterling was invited 
to deliver the Sunday morning sermon at the 1894 General Confer- 

Prior to that, she had baptized four persons during a communion 
service at Top Sail, Pennsylvania.^ Her evangelistic activity was 
also considered newsworthy by the Weekly Review, a West Virginia 
publication which described her work.^° Toward the close of 1894 
she reported that she had been able to organize a new Brethren 
church at Toll Gate, West Virginia, in Ritchie County, with 24 
charter members. ^^ 

(2) LAURA E. N. GROSSNICKLE (1858-1934), a native of Map- 
leville, Maryland, was the second woman to be ordained in the 
Brethren Church (1891). 1894 was the third year of her pastorate 
at Fairview, Indiana, near South Bend. During the winter she 
preached a short series of revival meetings at Elkhart, Indiana, 
with one public confession of faith resulting.^^ In May The Brethren 
Evangelist printed what Editor S. J. Harrison called "one of Sister 
Grossnickle's best sermons — one that has thrilled every audience 
that has ever heard her deliver it."^^ The message, "What Think 
Ye of Christ?" was given four large pages of text in order to publish 
it in its entirety. The sermon describes Messianic prophecy and its 
fulfillment in Jesus, together with various reactions to Him in His 
own day. It then turns to how Jesus is perceived in our time, con- 
cluding with a ringing evangelistic challenge for hearers to make 
the Nazarene the Savior and Lord of their lives. ^"^ 

On May 22, in the evening service at Loree, Indiana, Laura 
Grossnickle preached to the Indiana Ministerial Association what 
the reporter. Rev. R. R. Teeter, called "an inspiring sermon," and 
the following day led the ministers in a Bible study. ^^ In addition 
to serving the Fairview congregation, she also preached every 
other week at New Troy, Michigan, where she conducted a com- 
munion service on Saturday, June 2.^^ 

In July, she published an article about the national women's 
work, "Our S.S.C.E.," in which she challenged women to attend the 
approaching General Conference and unselfishly support the 
fledgling organization.^'^ At Ashland College the next month Laura 
Grossnickle was elected president of the S.S.C.E., which also de- 
cided to send her among the churches as a field organizer. The aux- 
iliary at this time reported thirty member societies. ^^ She con- 
tinued to work as a pastor through the remainder of 1894,^^ while 
preparing to begin her travel responsibilities January 1 from her 

family home in Maryland. Before the year concluded she held a re- 
vival meeting in New Troy, receiving five confessions of faith in 
one week, bringing to 21 the additions to that church in 1894.^° 
She also published an article on "How Shall the Brethren Church 
Attain a Higher Standard of Spirituality?" "The great secret," she 
wrote, "is a close walk with God. . . . Worshiping Him, we grow like 

During her six months as S.S.C.E. field worker in 1895, Rev. 
Grossnickle traveled constantly, preaching nearly every night and 
twice on Sundays. From January through June she visited 77 con- 
gregations, 20 former societies, and organized 38 new S.S.C.E. 
groups. ^^ 

(3) A third woman active in pastoral work during 1894 was 
ESTHER L. DICKEY, of Sidney, Indiana. Early in the year it was 
reported that a month-long "protracted meeting" she led at her 
church had resulted in twelve baptisms. ^^ There were tensions, 
however, between Mrs. Dickey and the larger church, for in an 
open letter published in May she charged that the denomination 
was "locking arms with secret societies" and conforming to the 
world.^'* The following month The Brethren Evangelist published 
her article "For I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. "^^ In 
August, Mrs. Dickey had the infrequent pastoral responsibility of 
conducting the funeral of another minister. Rev. Enos Sala,^^ after 
which her article "Born of God" appeared. ^^ The issues which she 
raised earlier continued to disturb her, resulting in her withdrawal 
from the Brethren Church late in 1894.^^ 

(4) According to the denominational yearbook, LIZZIE MAS- 
TERS was pastor at Elkport, Iowa, from 1893 to 1899. Nothing to 
date is known of her service, except that in May 1894 The Brethren 
Evangelist published an article by her from Wood, Iowa, entitled 
"Perils Threaten God's Children." It contained a challenge for all 
ministers and teachers to be diligent in handling the Scriptures, 
lest they teach as doctrine the commandments of men (cf. Matt. 

(5) A fifth woman active in Brethren ministry during 1894 was 
CLARA MYERS FLORA (1850-ca. 1920). A native of Illinois, she, 
like her husband Noah, was ordained, and they always served to- 
gether in a team ministry. The first issue of The Brethren Evangel- 
ist for 1894 contained her article "Almost a Christian" and the re- 
port that she was preaching regularly at Brooklyn, Iowa, a mission 
church of the lUiokota District Conference. ^° The two ministers 
held a revival meeting at Brooklyn which resulted in 21 confes- 
sions of faith, Clara Flora preaching half of the time.^^ 

From their home in Dallas Center, Iowa, she also traveled regu- 
larly to Leon and New Virginia for preaching appointments. ^^ Her 

practice at such places was to arrive on Saturday, preach Saturday 
night and again on Sunday morning and evening.^'^ On June 9 she 
assisted Isaac Thomas in the communion service at Leon on Satur- 
day evening, then preached on Sunday morning.'^'^ 

In midsummer it was announced that Clara Flora, whose ser- 
mons often received complimentary notice in reports from the 
churches, would preach the opening sermon at the Illiokota Confer- 
ence in Milledgeville, Illinois. The only other scheduled preacher 
was the noted orator-evangelist, Stephen H. Bashor.^^ On her trip 
to the conference (a distance of 216 miles) she preached five times 
in five days.^^ Shortly afterward she received seven public confes- 
sions of faith during one weekend of preaching at Leon, lowa.^^ 

Late in 1894 The Brethren Evangelist printed her article "Incon- 
sistent Prayers," in which she criticized the practice in some con- 
gregations of interceding for lawmakers but refusing them church 
membership.'^^ The same issue of the periodical reported that she 
and her husband had preached a series of services at Leon from 
September 30 to October 18. Audiences were too large for the space 
available, causing some persons to go home without hearing the 
speaker. But the meetings resulted in 33 confessions of faith, 31 of 
whom were baptized. ^^ 

(6) ETTA TOMBAUGH of Rochester, Indiana, also appeared in 
the ministerial lists of The Brethren Annual from 1894 to 1898, but 
nothing is known at this date of her pastoral activity. 

(7) The year 1894 saw the beginning of the ministerial service of 
SARAH (SADIE) FREAS GIBBONS (1864-1920), who was or- 
dained not long after the death of her first husband, Charles Gib- 
bons, in 1888. Writing from Independence, Kansas, she produced 
an article on faith, hope, and love which she titled "Three Sisters." 
The home of these sisters is in the heart, she wrote, with God as 
their Father and righteous works their offspring.'^° 


Fifteen years later Rev. Henry R. Holsinger, the founding leader 
of the Brethren Church, had been removed by death, and the de- 
nomination was just over a quarter-century of age. Membership 
that year was 18,607 persons distributed in 219 congregations,^^ a 
considerable increase from 1894. 

(1) The former Laura Grossnickle was now LAURA GROSS- 
NICKLE HEDRICK, having been married in 1898 to George W. 
Hedrick, a widower of Dayton, Virginia. She stepped down at that 
time from the presidency of the Sisters' Society, and was serving in 
1909 as secretary of the national organization. In February The 
Brethren Evangelist published her article "The Bible a Book for the 
Home," in which she wrote that the Bible is preeminently the book 

of the home because it meets the sorrows and hungers of every per- 
son. It does this by reveaHng the Savior who draws human hearts 
to Himself for sympathy while at the same time filling them with 
hope and joy.^^ 

In June she was a ministerial delegate at the Maryland-North- 
ern Virginia District Conference, where she read a paper on the 
work of the S.S.C.E. The reception was so favorable that it was "or- 
dered sent to the Evangelist for publication.'"^^ At the General Con- 
ference in August she was reelected national secretary. But George 
Hedrick's health was poor, so in late 1909 he and his wife traveled 
to Florida to investigate buying property there.'*^ "Florida As We 
Saw It" contained Laura Hedrick's announcement that she and her 
husband, together wtih Daniel Crofford of Johnstown, Pennsyl- 
vania, had purchased 300 acres west of Hallandale, near Fort 
Lauderdale, and would soon move there.^^ 

(2) Noah and CLARA FLORA continued their team ministry in 
the state of Iowa, noting that the congregation at Brooklyn once 
numbered 200 members but had run down. In mid-1909 Clara 
Flora was pastoring there and also at Udell; at the same time, to- 
gether with her husband, she was caring for the Leon, Iowa, con- 
gregation since their pastor, Sadie Gibbons, had left.'*^ For the II- 
liokota District Conference in October, Clara Flora was scheduled 
to give a half-hour of "Bible readings and comments" before the 
communion service.'^^ The conference met at the Brethren mission 
in Chicago with 60 present when she spoke on "The Sacrifice of 
Christ for Us."^^ 

(3) SADIE GIBBONS started the year 1909 as pastor at Leon, 
Iowa, "where she has been for quite a long time," Editor A. D. 
Gnagey observed.^^ During January she held a two-week revival 
meeting at Garwin, Iowa, with one confession of faith resulting.^^ 
On February 4, she became pastor at Portis, Kansas.^^ In the first 
month of her work there she reported four accessions to that 
church's membership, three of them by baptism. ^^ 

The congregation quickly responded to her leadership, surprising 
her shortly afterward with gifts in appreciation of her work.^^ by 
mid-June she was able to report four more additions by confession 
and baptism. ^"^ In September she sent word to The Brethren Evan- 
gelist that, since June, ten more members had joined the Portis 
congregation.^^ In October she spoke twice to the Kanemorado Dis- 
trict Conference in its meeting at Carleton, Nebraska, first on "The 
Country Church; Its Needs and How to Supply Them" and then on 
"The Personal Worker: Who He Is." She observed that, fifty years 
before, all personal workers were men, but now women too could 
engage in this form of evangelism. ^^ Her pastoral activities also in- 
cluded performing a wedding late in the year.^^ 

(4) MARY MELISSA WAGEMAN BAUMAN (1876-1909) came 
from the Methodist Church into the Brethren and married Rev. 
Louis S. Bauman, both in 1898. She was ordained the following 
year by the Roann, Indiana, congregation, and in 1906 organized 
the first local Sisterhood of Mary and Martha for the girls of the 
First Brethren Church in Philadelphia. From there in January 
1909 she wrote "Childhood's Prayer All Wrong," one of several re- 
sponses to criticisms of the traditional bedtime prayer "Now I lay 
me down to sleep . . . ." She noted that her son Glenn, who had died 
at an early age, was comforted rather than frightened by the line 
"If I should die before I wake."^^ 

The denomination learned in mid-summer that Mary Bauman 
was very ill with "a full developed case of typhoid malaria,"^^ from 
which she died on September 12. She was buried in Philadelphia's 
historic Germantown cemetery next to the ashes of her son.^° In 
December The Brethren Evangelist posthumously published her 
final article, "Loyalty to the Holy Spirit," in which she wrote, "Oh, 
know that the Spirit has come to make our daily lives an exhibi- 
tion of divine power, and a revelation of what God can do for and 
through His children. And the Spirit will come to an open, praying, 
willing heart. It is not so much now and then a special gift, but He 
comes morning by morning, hour by hour, step by step. Just as the 
branch gets sap from the vine, unconsciously and unceasingly, so 
comes the Holy Spirit to us from the Heavenly Vine."^^ 

(5) Not much is known of details in the service of LOVINA 
ELLEN YOUNG MEYERS (1862-1933), the wife of Rev. M. C. 
Meyers.^^ The only report of her in the denominational periodical 
for 1909 was in January, when it noted that the Meyerses had 
moved from Pittsburgh to Masontown, Pennsylvania, to take the 
church there. ^^ 

(6) According to The Brethren Annual, ANTONIA WALKER, an 
ordained minister, was pastor at Beaconsfield, Iowa, near Leon, for 
at least fifteen years (1902-17). 1909 would have been about the 
mid-point of her service there, but nothing more is known at pre- 
sent of her work.^"* 

(7) VIANNA DETWILER (18767-1921) was one of thirteen chil- 
dren in a family which moved from Ohio to Ridgely, Maryland, 
about 1881. She was ordained in 1901 while president of the 
S.S.C.E. (1898-1905), after which she worked at the Brethren mis- 
sion in Montreal, Quebec. Early in 1909 she spent over a month in 
Toronto in the interests of the church, then returned to Montreal to 
work with Dr. C. F. Yoder, superintendent of the mission. ^^ Having 
studied at the Maryland State Normal School, Ashland College, and 
the University of Chicago, she was uniquely qualified to write in the 
symposium "Where College Training Has Been Indispensable."^^ 


She continued to serve sacrificially in the Montreal mission and 
to appeal for funds through channels open to her.®^ In October The 
Brethren Evangelist published her article "Woman's Work for 
Christ," in which she maintained that, while Christianity does not 
set woman free from home obligations, it does free her to serve in a 
Christian ministry where Galatians 3:28 is true.®® Later that 
month she left on a trip that took her to England, Scotland, and 

(8) From 1906 until 1908 the name of ADA GARBER DRUSHAL 
(1881-1975) was included in the ministerial lists as a missionary- 
evangelist along with her well-known husband. Rev. G. E. Drushal. 
Together they had founded the Brethren mission at Lost Creek, 
Kentucky, in October 1905. The only notice of her work in 1909 
came in March, when Samuel Kilhefner wrote to The Brethren 
Evangelist that she had preached at Lost Creek with "sledge- 
hammer blows. "^° 

(9) As will be noted later, it is possible that MARGARET 
HOOVER (d. 1921) was in active service about this time, although 
no dates for her work are yet available. 

(10) MRS. T. E. RICHARDS was reported in The Brethren An- 
nual for 1907 through 1910 to be pastor with her husband at 
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It is assumed that she was ordained 
since her name appeared without designation in lists where unor- 
dained ministers were specially noted. The Brethren Evangelist 
contained no report of her pastoral activities during 1909. 

(11) BERTHA MAY BELL was first mentioned in the 1908 
ministerial list, but as unordained. In June 1909 it was announced 
that she would take the place of Etta Warvel Bowman, accompany- 
ing the C. F. Yoders in opening a Brethren mission work in Argen- 
tina.^^ They sailed on August 11 aboard the S. S. Teutonic?'^ Ten 
weeks later The Brethren Evangelist carried Miss Bell's letter de- 
scribing their arrival in Brazil on the way to Argentina. ^^ 

(12) ALFRETTA (ETTA) WARVEL BOWMAN, president of the 
S.S.C.E. from 1906 to 1911, began the year 1909 as pastor at the 
Brethren Church in Akron, Indiana. In February she became pas- 
tor at Claypool, Indiana.^'* She was planning on missionary service 
in South America with Dr. and Mrs. Yoder,^^ but by June it was 
evident that she would not be able to go because of her father's ter- 
minal illness.^® Bertha May Bell would be her substitute. After 
about six months in the Claypool church, Mrs. Bowman left^^ and 
was reelected national S.S.C.E. president at the General Confer- 
ence in August.^® 

(13) MARGARET A. COOKE became pastor at the Brush Valley 
and Glad Run, Pennsylvania, churches early in 1909.^^ Her leader- 
ship caused the former congregation to prosper so that it was said, 


"This is the greatest place for everybody to go to church, in the 
Brotherhood" (L. S. Bauman).^^ No more was reported of her work 
there that year, except that on September 1 she concluded her pas- 

(14) MRS. P. J. JENNINGS made her first appearance in The 
Brethren Annual for 1909. She was pastor at Allegheny and Oris- 
kany, Virginia, while her husband pastored the Bethlehem Breth- 
ren Church at Harrisonburg. However, no report of her pastoral ac- 
tivity was published during the year 1909. 

(15) The name of MAUDE CRIPE (1886-1976) — later to become 
Mrs. Leonard Webb during her missionary service in Argentina 
(1911-17) — first appeared in the ministerial list of 1909, where 
she was designated as an unordained minister. She was a mission- 
ary at Lost Creek, Kentucky, when she spoke to the Ashland, Ohio, 
S.S.C.E. in the spring of that year.*^ 


Fifteen years later a new situation confronted the churches: the 
aftermath of World War I, the Russian revolution, the fundamen- 
talist-modernist controversy, the granting of woman suffrage, the 
coming of Prohibition, the social outbreak that marked the Roaring 
'Twenties, and the financial uncertainty that produced the Great 
Depression. The Brethren Church continued its growth (to 21,848 
in 1920 and 22,682 in 1927), but the number of congregations was 
declining (to 171 in 1920 and 159 in 1927).*^ The denomination was 
forty years old, and a new generation of leaders were serving in the 
changed atmosphere of 1924. 

(1) Most prominent, perhaps, was DR. FLORENCE NEWBERRY 
GRIBBLE (1880-1942), a medical missionary to French Equatorial 
Africa. After working as a physician in the U.S. and in Africa, she 
was ordained in 1917 and began her service with the Brethren 
Church upon her return to the field in 1918. Her husband of ten 
years, James Gribble, died in 1923. A prolific writer. Dr. Gribble 
contributed nothing to the denomination's periodical in the year 
after her husband's death except letters detailing the nature of her 
continuing medical work. Five years later she had completed the 
426-page manuscript of Undaunted Hope, a biography of James 

(2) NORAL PEARL BRACKEN DAVIS (1888-1935) was living 
in her home town, Johnstown, Pennylvania, during 1924. Having 
pastored briefly following her ordination, she then was appointed 
National Superintendent of the Children's Division for the denomi- 
nation. In that capacity during 1921 she had visited 54 church 
schools*^ and in 1924 continued to write curriculum materials for 
children's workers. 


(3) MARY PENCE of Limestone, Tennessee, was ordained in 
1919 after teaching about six years at Lost Creek, Kentucky. 
Through most of the 'twenties she was pastor of the Telford Chapel 
at Limestone, near Johnson City. Early in 1924 The Brethren 
Evangelist carried her article "A Church 111 — the Lack of Wor- 
ship," in which she wrote, "The church today is too busy about 
much serving to sit at the feet of Jesus to worship. . . . Prayer has 
become almost wholly petitions with little praise. . . . Sociability is 
a good thing in the house of God, but if there is not the proper 
reverence and the attitude of worship, the sociability will not be 
fellowship in the Lord Jesus, but merely that of the world."^^ Writ- 
ing again in November, Rev. Pence noted that the Limestone con- 
gregation had been organized in 1910, but said nothing about her 
five years as its pastor.^' 

(4) A native of Abey, Lebanon, EMMA ABOUD (1880-1967) 
came to the United States around 1894. Using her knowledge of 
Middle Eastern customs and adopting native dress at times, she be- 
came a well-known evangelist in the Brethren Church beginning 
in 1920. In February 1924, Rev. E. B. Shaver reported on the suc- 
cessful public meetings she had conducted in the Shenandoah Val- 
ley of Virginia, resulting in 25 confessions of faith at Maurertown 
and 20 at the St. Luke church.^s 

Similar results followed her effort of three weeks at the 
Bethlehem congregation near Harrisonburg, Virginia,®^ and the 
New Lebanon, Ohio, church near Dayton.^° In early October The 
Brethren Evangelist reported another successful series of services 
at Mathias, West Virginia. Rev. Arthur Snider, who described 
those meetings, wrote, "Almost every night hundreds and some- 
times a half thousand were turned away because of not sufficient 
room, and yet the church holds between four and five hundred. "^^ 
The close of the year saw an announcement that she was now avail- 
able for further evangelistic meetings, and could be contacted at 
Dayton, Ohio, or Buena Vista, Virginia.^^ She continued this activ- 
ity through the decade of the 'twenties and resumed it in 1940. 

(5) GRACE P. SRACK, the widow of L. E. Srack (1867-1920), had 
planned to work with her husband as a Brethren missionary in Af- 
rica. But he died only one month after the announcement was 
made to the denomination. Mrs. Srack pastored briefly, then 
taught at the Lost Creek, Kentucky, mission beginning in 1922. 
During the Southern California Bible Conference in July 1924, she 
conducted a school of missions for the Brethren in attendance.^^ 


The next fifteen years brought growth and tension to the Breth- 
ren Church. Membership increased to 29,389 in 1939, but the 


number of congregations continued to decline to 152 in that year 
(apparently about sixty congregations disbanded between 1900 and 
1930).^* The tensions, which had their roots back in the 'teens, pro- 
duced two groups who have been called by later students the 
Brethrenists and the Fundamentalists.^^ The General Conference 
of 1939 divided into two denominations. The latter group (now the 
Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches) retained control of nearly 
all the missionary program, both home and foreign, while the 
former (the Brethren Church) controlled Ashland College and Sem- 
inary. The "Grace group" therefore found it necessary to build a 
new educational institution at Winona Lake, Indiana; the "Ash- 
land group," beginning anew with the Yoders in Argentina and the 
Drushals in Kentucky, had to develop a new program of missionary 
outreach. Much of what The Brethren Evangelist published in 1939 
was related to the controversy as the denomination drifted into the 

(1) DR. FLORENCE GRIBBLE continued to write frequent re- 
ports of her activity in Africa. In addition, two articles by her were 
published in 1939. "Thanksgiving" was an address that she deliv- 
ered at the Bassai Conference on Thanksgiving Day of 1938, in 
which she reflected on thirty years of service in African missions.^^ 
"The Lord's Preserves" described divine safekeeping in her experi- 
ence on the basis of Psalm 121.^^ 

(2) FLORENCE BICKEL, a registered nurse from Elkhart, In- 
diana, joined the African missionary team in 1924. She was or- 
dained in her home church on Christmas Day of 1922, then took 
specialized training in France before proceeding to Africa. During 
the early months of 1939 she was on furlough in the United States, 
where she spoke in January to the Mid- Year conference of South- 
ern California at the Second Brethren Church of Los Angeles.^^ 
Shortly afterward, while preparing to return to the mission field, 
she wrote "Back Again to My Beloved Black Saints."^^ She left 
New York on April 20 and arrived on the field June 13, returning 
to her work at the Bellevue Mission Station. ^°° 

tina in 1931 as part of the missionary effort there, and was in- 
cluded in The Brethren Annual list of ministers from 1932 through 
1935. She was the last missionary to go to South America prior to 
the division of the denomination. While serving there she met and 
married Rev. Ricardo Wagner. Mrs. Larson- Wagner (as her name 
often appeared) wrote two contrasting articles published in 1939. 
The first was "Indifference, the Missionary's Problem in Latin 
America." "Our Lord once declared," she wrote, "that a spiritual 
night is coming during which it will be impossible for any man to 
work. That night is almost here."^^^ The second, "Darkness Reced- 


ing Before the Night," offered the other side of the picture in its re- 
port of victories won on the Argentine field. ^°^ 


"The Ashland group" survived the division of the denomination, 
but lost the greater part of its young leaders and workers, includ- 
ing most of the women serving as missionaries. The membership in 
1940 was put at 17,282 persons in about 100 congregations. By 
1955 it was listed as 18,672 in 99 congregations. ^^^ In 1954 no 
women were working as pastors, no ordained women were in mis- 
sionary service, and only one had been ordained since 1939. 

(1) EDNA PUTERBAUGH NICHOLAS (d. 1967) was ordained in 
1928 at Elkhart, Indiana. She did some evangelistic preaching, oc- 
casional pulpit supply, and served for many years as secretary of 
the Elkhart church. In 1954 The Brethren Evangelist published a 
devotional article by her, "I Go A Fishing," in which she observed 
that, more than fishing, what Jesus' disciples needed after Easter 
was to see Him. Seeing Him, they loved Him, and loving Him, they 
served Him.^°^ 

(2) LORETTA CARRITHERS is another Brethren woman who 
worked in a team ministry with her husband. Following the divi- 
sion of 1939-40, she was appointed Superintendent of Children's 
Work in 1940. In that capacity she wrote a weekly column for chil- 
dren in the denomination's periodical under the name "Aunt 
Loretta" until 1944. At that time she took full pastoral responsibil- 
ity for the Mansfield, Ohio, congregation in the absence of her hus- 
band, who was commissioned a U.S. Army chaplain. After several 
years as a licensed minister, she was ordained in 1948 at Peru, In- 
diana. Elmer and Loretta Carrithers served as co-pastors again at 
Mansfield from 1950 through 1953. In 1954 they had recently 
moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where they have lived ever since. ^''^ 

(3) In a July 1954 article. Brethren antiquarian Freeman H. Ank- 
rum described the Berachah Church four miles east of Glenford, 
Ohio, and two miles south of Brownsville. There as a boy he had 
heard MARGARET (MAGGIE) HOOVER as "among those who 
supplied the pulpit from time to time,"^°^ but today nothing more is 
known of her activity (see no. 9 above under 1909). 


The 'sixties were a crucial decade in American history witness- 
ing, among other things, the Cuban missile crisis; the murders of 
President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and 
Senator Robert Kennedy; the escalation of involvement in the Viet 
Nam War; and the social revolution which affected many aspects of 
American life until today. The denomination's statistics for 1970 


showed a membership of 17,327 in 116 local churches. ^°^ In 1969 no 
Brethren woman was serving as a pastor anywhere in the United 
States. No ordained Brethren woman was working on a mission 
field. The Brethren Evangelist had no articles to publish by the 
women recognized as ministers. 

The only item related to the subject of this study was "Power of 
the Female in Christian Influence. "^°^ It was a lengthy unsigned 
review of R. Pierce Beaver's 1968 book All Loves Excelling (revised 
and reissued in 1980 as American Protestant Women in World Mis- 
sion). Beaver amassed an impressive wealth of data to document 
the role the women historically played in advancing the Christian 
missionary cause, especially when leadership in their home 
churches was, for whatever reason, denied to them. 


The fifteen years following 1969 saw little change in the Breth- 
ren Church's employment of women in ministerial capacity. The 
1979 membership figure was 15,082 persons in 123 congrega- 
tions,^°^ and by 1983 that had become 14,424 in 126 churches. 

The decade of the 'seventies was without question a period of 
heightening sensitivity to the role of women in the church and in 
society. The General Conference of 1974 adopted a recommenda- 
tion to "encourage women and men to engage in team ministry as 
ordained persons or as lay persons. "^^° About three years later a 
few young women studying at Ashland Theological Seminary 
began to investigate the history of Brethren women in ministry. ^^^ 

In December 1983, JENNIFER JONES RAY was ordained to- 
gether with her husband James at Roann, Indiana, making her the 
first Brethren woman so designated in the quarter-century since 
1957.^^^ She appeared before the Brethren Pastors' Conference on 
Faith and Order in April 1983 to speak of her experiences as a 
woman in ministry. ^^^ The Pastors' Conference considered several 
presentations on the ordination of women in the Brethren Church, 
as did the National Ministerial Association meetings at the 1983 
General Conference and the 1984 Pastors' Conference. ^^"^ 

Out of this extended discussion a six-man committee was ap- 
pointed to see if a consensus could be reached. Three of the commit- 
tee were known to oppose ordaining women, and three favored it. 
The committee brought to the 1984 General Conference ministers' 
sessions a recommendation that, since "the local church is ulti- 
mately responsible for the calling, licensure, and ordination of the 
candidate for ministry," each congregation should reach a decision 
on the question and periodically review its policies. The committee 
further recommended that, while district ministerial examining 
boards and the National Ordination Council "examine candidates 


in the areas of personal life, theology, ethics, and personal habits," 
they should remain neutral on matters of sex, race, and national 
origin. Therefore, the final word on Brethren women in ministry 
would rest with each local congregation according to their under- 
standing of Scripture. After discussion over a period of several 
days, the recommendation was defeated by a vote of 39 for and 45 
against. Whether women will be admitted to the Brethren ministry 
will continue to be decided by the various district examining 
boards and the National Ordination Council. 

Concluding Observations 

We have learned that, during the first generation of the Breth- 
ren Church's life, a few women (no more than fifteen at any time) 
played a significant part in the denomination's formal ministry. 
That practice declined in the two decades between World War I and 
the division of 1939-40. Most of the shrinking number worked in 
foreign missions; very few served as pastors. Many members who 
have grown up in the church since that time have no knowledge at 
all of women in the official ministry of the church. 

What will account for this change in Brethren practice? A 
number of possible answers suggest themselves. (1) The principal 
historian among the Grace Brethren has offered the opinion that 
better interpretation of Scripture brought about the shift. ^^^ (2) 
Another possibility notes that, beginning about the time of the 
great international missionary conference at Edinburgh, Scotland, 
in 1910, increasing calls went out to the churches for men to take 
leadership lest the heroic element of Christian faith be 
feminized.^^^ (3) Still another suggestion observes the sociological 
change which occurred as, through the 'twenties and 'thirties, the 
number of available congregations declined while the denomina- 
tion's membership increased. Some of the smaller churches, for- 
merly pastored by women, were combined to form larger congrega- 
tions or allowed to die out altogether.^^^ (4) The influence of Protes- 
tant fundamentalism was considerable in the Brethren Church, 
both before and after the 1939-40 division. Since fundamentalism 
has generally looked askance at female leadership in the church, 
this may help to explain what happened. ^^® (5) Reacting to the eji- 
treme social gospel movement, Biblical conservatism turned se- 
verely inward between 1920 and 1940, coming out of its shell only 
partially between 1940 and 1960.^^^ Acceptance of women in 
leadership prior to World War I had been part of the evangelical- 
led social action which began in the mid- 1800s and climaxed in 
1919-20 with the suffrage and prohibition amendments to the U.S. 
Constitution. In the aftermath of those victories considerable 
energy dissipated both in the church and in society. ^^*^ 


Much more remains to be done, however, before any of these — 
or, more likely, any combination of them — can give a definitive 
answer to the question. Why? Hopefully, continuing and future re- 
search will be able to discover and arrange all the pieces of the 


^The writer is happy to acknowledge the assistance of his wife Julia Ann 
in the research for this article. 

^For details, see Jerry R. Flora, "Brethren Women in Ministry: Century 
One," Ashland Theological Journal 15 (1982): 19-20. 

^The author has stated his position in "The Ordination of Women in the 
Brethren Church," an unpublished paper prepared for the 1983 Brethren 
Pastors' Conference on Faith and Order. 

'*Statistics are those summarized in the magisterial study of Dale R. 
Stoffer, "The Background and Development of Thought and Practice in the 
German Baptist Brethren (Dunker) and The Brethren (Progressive) 
Churches (c. 1650-1979)" (Ph.D. dissertation. Fuller Theological Seminary, 
1980), p. 531. See also StofFer's article "The Brethren Church 1883-1983," 
The Brethren Evangelist 105 (August 1983): 14-18. 

^The Brethren Evangelist (hereafter abbreviated BE) 16 (January 24, 
1894): 12. 

^BE 16 (February 14, 1894): 13. 

mE 16 (June 6, 1894): 12. 

^BE 16 (September 5, 1894): 2. 

^BE 16 (October 3, 1894): 13. 

^^BE 16 (December 12, 1894): 9. 

^^BE 16 (December 19, 1894): 3; BE 16 (December 26, 1894): 13. 

^^BE 16 (May 30, 1894): 11. 

^^BE 16 (May 9, 1894): 1. 

^''Ibid., pp. 4-7. 

^^BE 16 (June 6, 1894): 11. 

^^BE 16 (May 23, 1894): 13. 

^'^BE 16 (July 18, 1894): 6-7. 

^^BE 16 (September 5, 1894): 3. 

^^BE 16 (September 12, 1894): 14. 

^^BE 16 (November 28, 1894): 10. 

^^BE 16 (September 19, 1894): 2. 

22^/^e Brethren Annual, 1896, p. 7. 

23BE 16 (January 10, 1894): 28. 

^BE 16 (May 2, 1894): 14. 

^^BE 16 (June 27, 1894): 5-6. 

^^BE 16 (August 8, 1894): 14. 

^mE 16 (August 22, 1894): 7. 

^^BE 16 (December 12, 1894): 8-9 contains a letter from her and reply by 
Editor A. D. Gnagey. 

^^BE 16 (May 30, 1894): 7. 

3"BE 16 (January 3, 1894): 7, 9. 

^^BE 16 (January 31, 1894): 11. 

32BE 16 (March 21, 1894): 14. 

^^BE 16 (June 6, 1894): 13. 


^*BE 16 (June 27, 1894): 12. 

^^BE 16 (July 18, 1894): 21; BE 16 (September 26, 1894): 12. 

^^BE 16 (September 5, 1894): 13. 

^^BE 16 (September 19, 1894): 12. 

^^BE 16 (November 7, 1894): 6. 


*^BE 16 (March 28, 1894): 5-6. 

^^Stoffer, "Background and Development," pp. 531-32. 

^^E 31 (February 10, 1909): 6. 

'^^BE 31 (June 16, 1909): 16. It subsequently appeared in the issue of 
June 30, 1909. 

*^BE 31 (November 10, 1909): 16. 

^^BE 31 (December 29, 1909): 11, 15. 

^^BE 31 (July 7, 1909): 13. 

^'^BE 31 (September 29, 1909): 14. 

*^BE 31 (November 3, 1909): 13. 

^^BE 31 (January 6, 1909): 13. 

^^BE 31 (January 27, 1909): 8. 

^^BE 31 (February 10, 1909): 6. 

^^BE 31 (March 10, 1909): 8, 14. 

^^BE 31 (March 24, 1909): 16. 

^"^BE 31 (June 23, 1909): 8. 

^^BE 31 (September 22, 1909): 8. 

^^BE 31 (August 25, 1909): 15; BE 31 (November 10, 1909): 12. 

^''BE 31 (December 8, 1909): 16. 

^^BE 31 (January 13, 1909): 6. 

^^BE 31 (August 25, 1909): 8. 

60BE 31 (September 29, 1909): 16. 

^^BE 31 (December 1, 1909): 4-5. 

^^See Flora, "Brethren Women in Ministry," pp. 23-24. 

^^BE 31 (January 6, 1909): 16. 

^See also Flora, "Brethren Women in Ministry," p. 24. 

^^BE 31 (May 5, 1909): 12. 

^^BE 31 (June 16, 1909): 7. 

«^BE 31 (July 28, 1909): 14. 

^^BE 31 (October 6, 1909): 11. 

69fiE 31 (October 13, 1909): 8, 14; BE 31 (November 10, 1909): 14; BE 31 
(December 8, 1909): 8. 

'"^BE 31 (March 17, 1909): 17. 

"^^BE 31 (June 2, 1909): 12. 

''^BE 31 (August 11, 1909): 8. 

'^^BE 31 (October 27, 1909): 10. 

""^BE 31 (February 24, 1909): 8. 

^^BE 31 (February 10, 1909): 15. 

''^BE 31 (June 2, 1909): 12. 

'^'^BE 31 (July 7, 1909): 8. 

'^^BE 31 (September 15, 1909): 9. 

'^^BE 31 (February 3, 1909): 14. 

^^BE 31 (March 10, 1909): 14. 

«iB£ 31 (August 11, 1909): 15. 

^^BE 31 (May 12, 1909): 6. 

^^Stofifer, "Background and Development," pp. 683-84. 

^BE 51 (August 24, 1929): 12. 

^^BE 44 (June 21, 1922): 10. 


^BE 46 (February 6, 1924): 8-9. 

^'^BE 46 (November 19, 1924): 13. 

^^BE 46 (February 27, 1924): 13. 

^^BE 46 (April 16, 1924): 14. 

^BE 46 (April 23, 1924): 13. 

^^BE 46 (October 8, 1924): 13. 

^^BE 46 (December 10, 1924): 15. 

^^BE 46 (August 13, 1924): 16. 

^'*StofFer, "Background and Development," p. 684. 

^^Ibid., pp. 680-739. See also his article "The Brethren Church 1883- 
1983," BE 105 (August 1983): 16-17. 

^BE 61 (May 6, 1939): 12, 18-19. 

^''BE 61 (June 3, 1939): 7-8. 

^^BE 61 (February 11, 1939): 9. 

^BE 61 (March 4, 1939): 15. 

ioOjBE 61 (August 19, 1939): 13. 

lo^Bfi 61 (April 1, 1939): 9-10. 

io2fi£; 61 (June 3, 1939): 13. 

^"^Stoffer, "Background and Development," p. 744. For a careful analysis 
of the division in its sociological as well as historical, philosophical, and 
theological aspects, see Dennis Martin, "Ashland College versus Ashland 
Seminary (1921-37): Prelude to Schism," Brethren Life and Thought 21 
(Winter 1976): 37-50, and "What Has Divided the Brethren Church," 
Brethren Life and Thought 21 (Spring 1976): 107-119. 

^^'^BE 76 (June 19, 1954): 10. 

lo^BE 76 (September 19, 1953): 15. 

^^^BE 76 (July 10, 1954): 4-6, 8-9. 

^'''Stoffer, "Background and Development," p. 744. 

^^^BE 91 (January 18, 1969): 13-16. 

^"^Stoffer, "Background and Development," p. 744. 

^^^The Brethren Annual, 1974, p. 26. 

^^^The first was probably Susan White [Hyland], "The Sisters of the 
Brethren: The Traditional Role of Women in the Brethren Church," 1977. 

^^^Anne Black, the wife of Rev. E. J. Black, was ordained at Muncie, In- 
diana, in 1957. Two years later she and her husband withdrew from the 

^^^Jennifer Ray, "Reflections by a W^oman in Ministry," unpublished 
paper for the 1983 Brethren Pastors' Conference on Faith and Order. 

^^"^In addition to the items cited above in nn. 3 and 113, the following pa- 
pers were discussed: P. Kent Bennett, "Ordination of Christian Pastors"; 
Gene A. Eckerley, "The Role of Women in Relation to Ordination"; David 
Kemer, "Leadership Selection Models Major Study: Ordination"; Terry L. 
Lodico, "The Role of Women in the Leadership of the Church"; and Jack L. 
Oxenrider, "The New Testament Practice of Women in Ministry." 

^^^Homer A. Kent, Sr., Conquering Frontiers: A History of the Brethren 
Church (The National Fellowship of Brethren Churches), rev. ed. (Winona 
Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1972), p. 121. 

^^^There are many details in successive volumes of The Brethren Evan- 
gelist to warrant investigating this idea. 

^^'See the research summarized in the articles by Martin, cited above, n. 
103 (especially p. 38), and Stoffer, "Background and Development," p. 532 
(especially n. 24). 

^^^For a general analysis, see George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and 
American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism 


1870-1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980). 

^^^Cf., for example, Richard V. Pierard, "The Great Eclipse: The Rise and 
Fall and Rise of Evangelical Activism," Eternity (February 1984): 16-19. 

^^°A good introduction will be found in Donald W. Dayton, Discovering 
An Evangelical Heritage (New York: Harper & Row, 1976). 


Women In The Ministry Of Jesus 

by Ben Witherington, III 

Jesus, we have been told in recent times, was a "radical 
feminist." He was one who deliberately undermined the traditional 
patriarchal framework so obviously a part of Old Testament cul- 
ture and religion. His own teaching and way of life were such that, 
according to the contention of many, only an egalitarian view of 
husband-wife relationships and an equalitarian view of male- 
female roles as disciples comport with his world view. This particu- 
lar kind of analysis of Jesus' views on women has become increas- 
ingly accepted as the "correct" interpretation of the relevant mate- 
rial in the four Gospels, both in scholarly and in lay circles. 
Perhaps, however, it might be worthwile to ask whether or not this 
is yet another attempt to recreate Jesus and His views in the 
image of our own modern concerns about the place of women in the 
Christian community. 

So often we come to the Biblical text with an agenda, and it is 
not surprising that we often find what we are looking for! We use 
the evidence in a way that partially clarifies and partially obscures 
the truth. Then too, so often our presuppositions about the text, our 
ways of handling it, dictate what sort of results we harvest. 
Methodology, as Robert Funk once said, is not an indifferent net. It 
catches what it is intended to catch. 

In relation to the question of women in the ministry of Jesus, the 
only way around the problems of reading an agenda into the text, 
is by careful, comprehensive, historical study of the relevant mate- 
rial. We should not presume to know what the text means for us, 
before we first examine what it meant to its author and audience 
in its original historical setting. Quite clearly, the text cannot 
mean something now that is contrary to what the author intended 
for it to mean then. With these thoughts in mind, let us consider 
some of the relevant material, bearing in mind that I can only 
summarize some of the material found in my monograph. Women 
in the Ministry of Jesus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

Jesus came to proclaim the Kingdom, an event which had impli- 
cations for women, but he did not directly address the question, 
what is the proper place of women in that Kingdom, His communi- 
ty of believers. Nevertheless, the implications are fascinating. 
Take for instance the material found in Mt 19.10-12 where Jesus 
proclaims a place for the single person in His Kingdom. This might 
not at first glance seem to be a very radical concept until we see it 
in its historical context. The Jewish teachers of Jesus' day believed 


Gen 1.28 commanded that all able-bodied persons must marry and 
procreate. To remain single by choice was not a legitimate option. 
Indeed, frequently the rabbis viewed "eunuchs" as an affront to 
God. By contrast, Jesus taught that it was legitimate to remain 
single for the sake of His Kingdom. This text may be Jesus' justifi- 
cation for why He Himself remained single. This teaching had a 
profound effect on women in Jesus' ministry. It meant that they 
had the option to be something other than wife or mother in this 
life. Here then we see a radical departure from Judaism, for in 
Judaism a woman's place was said to be exclusively in the home in 
some manner. She had no possibility of being the disciple of a fa- 
mous rabbi or being trained to lead synagogue worship, much less 
to serve in the Temple as a priest. 

In Lk 10.38-42 we find out how Jesus felt about such Jewish at- 
titudes. Here quite clearly we see a study in contrasts. Martha 
takes on the role of the traditional Jewish hostess, while Mary rep- 
resents the attentive disciple. The phrase, "sit at the feet of 
(10.39) is used often as a technical phrase meaning to be a disciple 
of, and probably it has that meaning here. When Martha becomes 
irritated with Mary's failure to help in the kitchen, and even be- 
rates Jesus for not doing something about it, the story takes a 
rather surprising turn. Jesus does not relegate Mary to the hospi- 
tality committee, but rather suggests that Mary has chosen the 
good portion which will not be taken from her. She has a right, in- 
deed a higher obligation, to be Jesus' disciple rather than to be His 
hostess. This, of course, is in line with Jesus' teaching elsewhere 
that nothing has a greater priority than taking up one's cross and 
following Jesus, but its application to women would have been seen 
as decidedly unacceptable in Jewish circles. 

From Lk 8.1-3 we know that women were amongst Jesus' travel- 
ing entourage, a fact in itself which would have been considered 
scandalous since they were probably not the wives of His disciples. 
It is likely that Jesus was called the "friend of sinners" in a deri- 
sive way precisely because He gave women and other disenfran- 
cised groups free and equal access to His community. In Lk 8.1-3 
we also notice that these women appear to have been carrying out 
functions in the community later assumed by deacons and 
deaconesses — providing for the material needs and well-being of 
the community.- 

It is hard to overestimate the importance of Jesus' teaching 
about the family of faith vis-a-vis the physical family. Clearly, 
from such texts as Mk 3.31-35 and parallels, Jesus saw faith not 
heredity as the basis for claiming a place in His community. Indeed 
Mk 3.21ff. (cf. Jn 7.5) suggests that physical ties to Jesus might in- 
deed be a stumbling block to understanding Him. Further, such 


texts as Mk 10.29-30, Lk 12.49-53 and parallels, Lk 9.57-62 make 
clear that for Jesus it was the family of faith, not the physical fam- 
ily, that must be seen as the basic relational unit within the King- 
dom. To be sure, if a physical family (such as Mary, Martha, and 
Lazarus) was Christian, then the physical family and family of 
faith could stand together. But if the physical family was divided 
over loyalty to Jesus, and would not serve but sever the body of be- 
lievers, then the priority of the family of faith must take precedent. 
Mk 3.31-35 means nothing less than that one's brothers and sisters 
in the faith are one's primary family to whom one must give prim- 
ary allegiance. If an either/or situation arose, it is clear where 
Jesus' loyalties were, and where he expected His disciples to be. 
This attitude, in a lesser degree, is found amongst rabbis and their 
disciples where it was sometimes affirmed that a student owed his 
first allegiance to his teacher "who brought him into the world to 
come" over his parents "who brought him into the world." How- 
ever, Jesus applied this principle in a more radical and thorough 
way (cf. Lk 11.27-28, 12.49-53). The Church has still not integrated 
all that this implies for our relationships in Christ. 

Incidental evidence of Jesus' view of the value of a woman's word 
of witness about Him is found in John 4. The story of the woman at 
the well is too well known to bear repeating, but several things 
about this story indicate Jesus' attitude toward women. Firstly, 
Jewish teachers insisted that Jewish men should speak little or not 
at all with women, especially strange women, in public places. This 
was all the more so in regard to women of "ill repute" or of "foreign 
extraction." Samaritan women were regarded by rabbis as 
"menstruants from the womb", i.e., always unclean, untouchable, 
outcasts. Thus, in the disciples' eyes, Jesus had no business talking 
with this woman at the well. Jesus, however, not only speaks to 
her but refuses to treat her as unclean, engaging her in one of the 
most significant theological discussions in the whole of the Fourth 
Grospel. This implies that even such a woman as she was a proper 
recipient of theological information and indeed a proper candidate 
for discipleship. Secondly, the Fourth Evangelist stresses that 
while Jesus' male disciples were busy scurrying for the food that 
does not satisfy, this woman went to proclaim the message that led 
many to come hear from Jesus of a food that offers eternal life 
(4.39). It may well be that the parable in 4.37-38 is intended to 
imply that the woman is one of the sowers or reapers. The Samari- 
tan woman then is seen by the Fourth Evangelist as one who prop- 
erly models the role of disciple — to the shame of the Twelve. Of a 
similar nature, though more explicit, is Jesus' commissioning of 
Mary Magdalene to be an "apostle to the Apostles" by being the 
first witness to the Resurrection (Jn 20.17-18). 


It is also singularly significant that Jesus tactily rejects the Old 
Testament laws of clean and unclean as binding on Himself and 
His followers. Thus, He does not treat the touching of a corpse (Lk 
7.15), the touch of a sinner woman (Lk 7.36fF.), or a woman with a 
flow of blood (Mk 5.27ff) as defiling. Indeed Mk 7. Iff. states 
explicitly that Jesus declared all foods clean (7.19b) on the basis of 
the principle that it is only what comes out of a person that can de- 
file them, not what enters them or touches them (7.15). 

One further text that has bearing on women, in both their re- 
lationships to the physical family and the family of faith is Lk 
22.24-30. Here Jesus defines what sort of leadership or headship 
the twelve are to exercise over His followers. He explains that they 
are not to be like the Gentiles who lord it over people, rather they 
are to follow Jesus' example and be servants of all. Clearly, head- 
ship for Jesus means being a head servant — it requires increased 
responsibility not increased privilege. This is not to say that they 
cannot have or exercise authority to teach, to preach, to heal. What 
it does mean is that the traditional patriarchal model of headship 
must be reformed in the Kingdom. Jesus' choice of and commission 
of the Twelve men both before and after His resurrection makes 
quite clear that Jesus was concerned about reformation, not rejec- 
tion of the traditional concept of headship. Whatever this concept 
now meant in the Kingdom, however, it obviously was not taken by 
the Evangelists to mean that women could not proclaim the Good 
News (Jn 20.17-18) or even teach male church figures of signifi- 
cance (Ac 18.24-26). 

What we have said to this point in the discussion is only one side 
of the story. The other side tells of Jesus' concern to strengthen the 
traditional physical family structure making it more equitable for 
women. Jesus' teaching on marriage, family, and divorce illustrate 
this fact. For instance, in Mt 5.27ff., Jesus clearly intensifies the 
prohibition against adultery. It was to include even the inclination 
of the heart, not just the deeds of the body. Further, in Matthew 19 
(cf. Mark 10) Jesus takes a very strict stand on divorce. Indeed 
many scholars would suggest that His view is "no divorce," unless 
the marriage was improper in the first place (e.g., in the case of an 
incestuous union). That Jesus took a strict stand against divorce is 
strongly suggested by the disciples response in Mt 19.10. They 
knew well enough that some rabbis had said no divorce except on 
grounds of adultery. It is doubtful that the disciples would have re- 
sponded as they did if they had understood Jesus to be simply sid- 
ing with one side of the traditional Jewish debate. Then too, 
Mark's and Luke's Gospels record no acceptable grounds for di- 
vorce. Certainly, the first audiences who received these Gospels 
would have understood that Jesus taught "no divorce." Divorce for 


Jesus is adultery, as is remarriage, because in Grod's eyes when the 
two are joined by God that union is indissoluble except presumably 
by death (Mt 19.9, Mk 10.11-12, LK 16.18). In Mt 19.8-9, Jesus con- 
trasts His position with that of Moses. Moses allowed divorce for 
hardness of heart, but Jesus now insisted that God's original crea- 
tion order and intention should be upheld because He is bringing 
in the new creation. Now, however difficult or controversial this 
teaching might be, its general effect for women was to give them 
much greater security in their role as a wife. Some rabbis had even 
said that if a man found a woman fairer than his own, or if his pre- 
sent wife burnt the breakfast, he was free to divorce and remarry. 
Not so in the community of Jesus. Women could be sure that no 
such whim could be grounds for divorce in the Christian communi- 
ty. Thus, even if Mt 19.9 (5.32) allows for divorce on grounds of 
adultery (which seems unlikely), Jesus had significantly curtailed 
male freedom to divorce (only males could divorce in first century 
Jewish culture). 

Jn 7.53-8.11 also illustrates that Jesus did not tolerate a double 
standard. Here the question to be raised is, where is the adulterer 
who was also caught in the act? Obviously these Jewish elders took 
more seriously the woman's sin than the man's in this case. Jesus 
was having no part in such a selective and prejudicial procedure of 
justice. He does not ignore the woman's sin, but neither does he 
condemn her. His real condemnation falls on a system that dis- 
criminates against the "weaker" members of society. Later, he rails 
against the scribes who are bilking helpless widows of what little 
estate they had (Mk 12.40 and parallels). Jesus also felt strongly 
about elderly parents being disenfranchised by their own children 
under the pretence of godliness (Mk. 7.9-13). We know too that 
children held a special place in Jesus' ministry. He insisted on 
their right to come to Him despite the disciples' resistance (Mk 

Jesus' compassion on women with lost loved ones (Lk 7.1 Iff., 
John 11), sick loved ones (Mk 7.24ff.), or special problems (Lk 8.1- 
3). His fellowship with them (John 12, Luke 10), and their loyalty 
to Him to the bitter end (even beyond that of the Twelve) bespeaks 
of a special relationship between Jesus and those who might have 
been treated by some male disciples as the least of the disciples 
whose word could not even be trusted (Lk 24.11). All of this 
suggests a very remarkable upgrading of the roles women could as- 
sume in Jesus' community as compared to their attenuated place in 
Judaism where they were not allowed to read Torah in the 
synagogue or to be members of the governing quorum because of 
their monthly uncleanness. 

Our study of Jesus' words and deeds leads us to conclude that in 


many, though not all, regards, Jesus differed from His Jewish con- 
temporaries. This is all the more remarkable when we note that 
Jesus, so far as we know, never left His immediate Jewish environ- 
ment for any length of time and, more importantly, directed His 
mission specifically to His fellow Jews. 

Jesus' rejection of divorce outright would have offended practi- 
cally everyone of His day. Further, Jesus' view that the single state 
was a legitimate and not abnormal calling for those to whom it was 
given, went against prevailing views in various parts of the Roman 
Empire about a man's duty to marry and procreate, but nowhere 
more so than in His native Palestine. I suggested that it was this 
teaching which made it possible for women also to assume roles 
other than those of wife and mother in Jesus' community. That 
Jesus did not endorse various ways of making women "scapegoats," 
especially in sexual matters, placed Him at odds with other rabbis, 
though doubtless even many Gentiles would have thought that 
Jesus' rejection of the "double standard" was taking equality too 
far. Further, we do not find negative remarks about the nature, 
abilities and religious potential of women in comparison to men on 
the lips of Jesus in contrast to various Jewish authors. There is 
also reason to believe that Jesus' estimation of the worth and valid- 
ity of a woman's word of testimony was higher than that of most, if 
not all, of His contemporaries (cf. Jn 4.27-42). Jesus' teaching that 
the family of faith's claims took priority over the claims of the 
physical camily on both men and women (cf. Mk 3.31-5, 10.29-30), 
also led to some circumstances that both Jew and Gentile would 
have found objectionable; for instance, what husband (Jew or Gen- 
tile) would willingly have let his wife leave home and family to be- 
come a follower of an itinerant Jewish preacher? Yet Lk 8.3 proba- 
bly indicates that Joanna, the wife of Chuza, had done this. This 
teaching, however, did not lead Jesus to repudiate either the tradi- 
tional family structure outright or, it would seem, the patriarchal 
framework which existed to one degree or another in all the vari- 
ous Mediterranean cultures of that day. Jesus' teaching on the 
matter of corban, on honouring parents, on divorce, and on children 
makes clear that He was not advocating a rejection of the tradi- 
tional family structure. If Mt 5.27-32 and Jn 7.53-8.11 are any in- 
dication, then Jesus reaffirmed the responsibility of the husband 
and male leaders to be moral examples for the community. Jesus' 
choice of twelve men to be leaders of His new community also leads 
one to think that He was attempting to reform, not reject, the pat- 
riarchal framework under which He operated. 

Certain of Jesus' words and deeds, such as His teaching on the 
laws of uncleanness, His healing of a woman on the Sabbath, and 
His willingness to converse with a strange woman in public, while 


obviously offensive to His fellow Jews, would probably not have 
raised many eyebrows outside Jesus' native context. Then, too, 
Jesus' attitude toward a woman's right to religious training and to 
be a disciple of a religious leader, while no doubt shocking to Jews, 
would not have seemed radical to many Romans or Greeks of that 

Jesus' views of women and their roles do not fit neatly into any 
of the categories of His day. He was not a Qumranite, nor was he a 
traditional rabbi in these matters, though he had certain things in 
common with both groups. His use of women, both fictitious and 
real, as examples of faith for His followers, and His teaching on 
honoring parents, is not without precedent in rabbinic literature. 
His calling of men and women to radical commitment to God, in 
view of the inbreaking of the Kingdom, has certain affinities with 
the teachings of both John the Baptist and Qumran. Yet, on the 
whole, and especially in view of His Jewish context, Jesus appears 
to be a unique and sometimes radical reformer of the views of 
women and their roles that were commonly held among His people. 
Further, it appears that the case for new and more open attitudes 
toward women had still to be argued when the Evangelists wrote 
their Gospels. Perhaps this is the very reason why the Third and 
Fourth Evangelists take pains to present various women as religi- 
ous models for their audiences. What then was the effect of these 
new attitudes about women and their roles on the women who par- 
ticipated in the community of Jesus? What was the community of 
Jesus offering women in terms of status and roles in comparison to 
what was offered them in Judaism? 

To begin with, it is apparent, not only in the Gospels but also in 
Acts and the Epistles (e.g., Romans 16), that the impact of the 
Christian message on women was considerable. It is probable that 
Jesus' teachings attracted women in part because of the new roles 
and equal status they were granted in the Christian community. 
There were many cults in Greece and Rome that were for men only 
or, at best, allowed women to participate in very limited ways. 
Further, it is easy to see why women who were on the fringe of the 
synagogue community became Christian converts. Judaism offered 
women proselytes a circumscribed place at best, for they were faced 
with the rabbinic restrictions that limited their participation in re- 
ligious functions. While women were able neither to make up the 
quorum necessary to found a synagogue, nor to receive the Jewish 
covenant sign, these limitations did not exist in the Christian com- 
munity. The necessary and sufficient explanation of why Christ- 
ianity differed from its religious mother, Judaism, in these matters 
is that Jesus broke with both biblical and rabbinic traditions that 
restricted women's roles in religious practices, and that He rejected 


attempts to devalue the worth of a woman, or her word of witness. 
Thus, the community of Jesus, both before and after Easter, 
granted women together with men (not segregated from men as in 
some pagan cults) an equal right to participate fully in the family 
of faith. This was a right that women did not have in contemporary 
Judaism or in many pagan cults. Jesus' teachings on the priorities 
of discipleship, His willingness to accept women as His disciples 
and travelling companions (cf. Lk 8.1-3, 10.38-42), and His teach- 
ing on eunuchs and what defiled a person, effectively paved the 
way for women to play a vital part in His community. Anyone 
could have faith in and follow Jesus — He did not insist on any 
other requirements for entrance into His family of faith. 

In regard to the roles women could and did assume in Jesus' com- 
munity, Luke particularly shows us that a variety of tasks were as- 
sumed by women, especially in the post-Easter community. The 
Third Evangelist gives evidence (cf. Lk 8.3, Ac 9.36-42) that 
women often enough simply resumed their traditional roles of pro- 
viding hospitality or material support, though now it was in serv- 
ice to the community of Jesus. Such roles were acceptable so long 
as they did not hinder a woman from choosing or learning more 
about the "one thing needful" (Lk 10.38-42). 

While the teaching and community of Jesus was perhaps more 
easily and more naturally embraced by Gentile women than by 
Jewish women, it offered Jewish women more in terms of status 
and roles than it did to Gentile women. For a Jewish woman, the 
possibility of being a disciple of a great teacher, of being a travel- 
ling follower of Jesus, of remaining single "for the sake of the 
Kingdom," or even of being a teacher of the faith to persons other 
than children, were all opportunities that did not exist prior to her 
entrance into the community of Jesus. Nonetheless, the Christian 
faith and community offered Gentile women a great deal also. As 
well as the roles mentioned above, the offer of salvation from sin, of 
starting life with a new self-image and purpose, of actively par- 
ticipating in a community whose Master had directed His mission 
especially to the oppressed, were offers that appealed greatly to 
Gentile, as well as Jewish, women. This new status and these new 
roles, some of which had not been available to these women before, 
are factors which explain the influx of women into the community 
of Jesus. 

Another motif that comes to light in the Gospels is the presenta- 
tion of women as valid witnesses of the truth about Jesus (John 4 
for instance), and especially about His death, burial, empty tomb 
and appearance as the risen Lord. Though it may have been a mat- 
ter of necessity, it is significant that a crucial part of the Christian 
kerygma is based on the testimony of Jesus' female followers. It is 


to the credit of the EvangeHsts that, far from trying to gloss over 
this fact, it is highlighted in different ways by the First Evangelist, 
Luke, the Fourth Evangelist, and probably Mark. Worthy of spe- 
cial mention is Luke's way of revealing the validity of the tes- 
timony of Jesus' female followers by showing that it was confirmed 
by the Apostle Peter (cf. Lk 24.1-10, 12). Also notable is the Fourth 
Evangelist's presentation of Martha's confession as, to some extent, 
a model for his audience (cf. Jn 11.27, 20.31). Furthermore the 
Resurrection narratives, like other portions of the Gospels, tend to 
bear witness to the effect of Jesus' attitudes toward women on the 
Christian community, as women appear in these narratives as well 
as elsewhere as witnesses and participants in that community. 

There is not time or space to explore this material further. Suf- 
fice it to say that Jesus was about the business of doing two things 
at once in His Ministry that dramatically affected women. On the 
one hand. He allowed women to have a significant place and status 
in His words, deeds, and ministry while combatting prejudice and 
double-standards. The effect of this was to give Jewish women 
especially new religious rights and functions in the family of faith. 
On the other hand, he took actions that strengthened women's 
traditional roles in the family. Thus, the new dichotomy of either 
Jesus as a "feminist" or Jesus as a traditionalist must be rejected. 
Neither term and neither extreme adequately describes Jesus' re- 
lationship with women. As in so many other regards, Jesus' minis- 
try to and with women defies simple categorization. We would do 
well today to try and preserve the healthy balance enunciated by 
Jesus and perpetuated by Paul. When the Church ignores either 
the new thing Jesus began or the old things he reaffirmed, it 
stands in danger of further fragmenting the physical family or 
quenching the Spirit working in the lives of the women of God. 
May God preserve us from both these fates. 


Two Seminaries Or One: A Plea For A 

Black- White Dialogue On 

Theological Education 

by William H. Myers 

Monologue in Politics 

The recent Democratic National Convention was a perfect illus- 
tration of the lack of black- white dialogue in politics. Jesse Jackson 
did not succeed in his objective, irrespective of the media claims to 
the contrary. Yes, he made us all feel proud and he made history. 
But, was that his primary objective or even a secondary objective? 
It is highly unlikely when one considers this trained seminarian's 

Jesse and those blacks who voted for him sought dialogue, not 
history or a proud feeling. When blacks all over this nation voted 
for Jesse it was not a repudiation of Hart or Mondale. Implicit in 
this vote was a repudiation of monologue. It was not so much a vote 
against Mondale (a black favorite) as much as a vote for genuine 
dialogue. The message was clear. We desire choices that allow 
fruitful black-white dialogue. Since past history demonstrates the 
white penchant for monologue on political matters that affect 
blacks, we chose on this occasion to send a dialogic messenger who 
carried a dialogic message. No black person expected that his vote 
would catapult Jesse into the "White" House. However, his vote 
was viewed as a demand to be heard and a plea for black-white 
dialogue in politics. 

This is why, unfortunately, both Andrew Young and Coretta 
King were booed by black delegates. At the minimum the delegates 
went to the convention with the hope of receiving a message that a 
black-white dialogue would occur, and they would not hear anyone 
who would suggest that they should forfeit that right yet again in 
silence and acquiescence. Sadly, Jesse left in the same state in 
which he came (as it relates to the objective) — with a white 
monologue on politics. 

There was obvious dialogue between the Democratic party and 
Gary Hart, the South and women. But in Jesse's case the 
monologue continued in response to each issue he raised: "Do it our 
way and your turn will come down the road!" Obviously, the Demo- 
cratic party felt that the female vote was crucial and non-sacrifi- 
cial, for women could turn to the Republicans in 1980. But, to 
whom could the black race turn to? In effect the Democrats percep- 
tion was that blacks have no acceptable line of default and there- 
fore Jesse was sacrificial. 


This, as I see it, is a classic "political" example of how the Demo- 
crats failed to seize the opportunity for black- white dialogue. The 
gender move sought to mitigate it, but it was more avoidance than 

Although this occurrence on the political scene is disturbing, 
there is a similar matter that is even more disconcerting. This 
same black-white dichotomy permeates the Church in the area of 
theological education. As Christians we expect to see many things 
occurring in the world, but how is it so easy for us to accept them 
in the Church?^ More specifically, I speak of a white monologue 
and the failure to incorporate a black-white dialogue within the 
theological education system. 

Dichotomies in Church History 

The black-white division is not the first dichotomy that the 
Church has faced in its history. During the apostolic period there 
was the Jew-Gentile dichotomy. Paul's sensitivities and spirit were 
heightened to the point that he was able to see that it was the 
death knell to the Christian Church. The allowance of a Jewish 
Church and a Gentile Church was to admit to no Christian Church 
at all.^ We are all very familiar with how Paul stood resolutely at 
the Jerusalem Council and on other occasions on behalf of the Gen- 
tiles and in favor of one Church, not two. 

Paul stood face-to-face with the "pillars of the church" in active 
dialogue and declared to them that their theology and their con- 
duct was wrong if they accepted this divisive dichotomy. He did not 
sit in "silence" nor look the other way (thereby condoning their at- 
titude by default). When it became necessary he even faced the 
titular "pillar" regarding his own conduct on the matter.* 

A second divisive factor has been that of the kleros-laos (clergy- 
laity) controversy.^ A careful study of this dichotomy suggests that 
the separation of these two terms was introduced first by Clement 
of Rome in A.D. 95^ The chasm widened until the "high water 
mark" of the Reformation period closed it with the concept of the 
"priesthood of all believers." Since that time there has been fre- 
quent nominal attempts at closing the gap such that at present we 
have a great emphasis on the ministry of all the people of God 
(laos) which seeks to eliminate this particular dichotomy in the 
Church. The movement seeks to do this by placing the emphasis in 
this controversy where it belongs. That is, on the gifted's ability to 
function, not on office or status.^ 

Other dichotomies are the Protestant-Catholic and conservative- 
liberal splits. However, let me suggest that these have led to a 
most prominent dichotomy today in the conservative ranks of the 
Christian family. It is the "true" evangelical versus the quasi- 


evangelical dichotomy.^ It can be observed today in a most heated 
fashion on such issues as inspiration and inerrancy, the historical- 
critical method and hermeneutical methods, techniques, and pre- 
suppositions.^ At the core of much of this controversy is the criteria 
for bearing the tag of "evangelical." 

Monologue in the Theological Education System 

My concern at present is with the failure of the theological 
academic community (seminaries, accrediting associations, etc.) in 
general to enter into sincere black-white dialogue regarding the 
structure of theological education. As a result I have observed an 
increasing attitude that is building toward two seminaries instead 
of one. Isn't it enough that we must have black churches and white 
churches. Catholic churches and Protestant churches, Penecostals 
and Reformed, Methodist and Baptists that ignore one another? 
Must we continue to compound the problem of separatism? Shall 
we become even more divisive by forcing this matter to its ultimate 
dichotomous conclusion? Or shall we seize the opportunity to make 
a giant leap forward by entering into a truly participative black- 
white dialogue? 

There are many black pastors, ministers and laymen today seek- 
ing theological training on a seminary or near-seminary level, but 
are not receiving it because they perceive the white seminary as 
unwilling to include them in the process which determines method, 
technique and structure that includes their unique contextual situ- 
ation.^^ Therefore many are pressing for their own black communi- 
ty seminaries. My Doctor of Ministry dissertation and research 
(which includes the development of such a center) documents how 
prevalent this type of center is for black and whites of all denomi- 
nations and how the driving force behind it is more laymen than 
clergy. ^^ It also suggests, however, how few theological seminaries 
were involved in providing this type of service in the first place, 
thereby forcing these types of centers to fill the gap. It also demon- 
strates how theological seminary systems contribute to this black- 
white dichotomy either actively or by default. ^^ 

Is there a way out? 

On this subject I feel compelled to go my own way, in spite of the 
opinions of black theologians, many who will certainly disagree 
with me but whose opinions I value nonetheless. I don't consider 
Black Studies courses or Black Studies programs as the answer. ^^ 
This is not to be construed as a repudiation, denigration or ques- 
tioning of their importance or usefulness. However, it skirts the 
real issue just as surely as the apostles (except Paul) failed to con- 


front Peter ("a pillar of the church"). 

After all, how many white seminarians will attend courses that 

are entitled Black ? Shall we then congregate a group 

of blacks in a class to discuss problems that they are well aware of 
but unable to solve alone? I choose not to follow some that would 
make these courses mandatory for whites. This would generate 
more of a negative response than a cooperative effort in trying to 
bring about true reconciliation. Our method should be persuasion 
of the righteousness of this position as supported by the Scriptures 
which leads to an embracing of this position because they are con- 
vinced not forced. ^^ 

Therefore, include Black Theology in Contemporary or Christian 
Theology, Black Church History in Church History, Black Church 
Administration in Church Administration and Black Preaching in 
Homiletics. For in the final analysis there is neither a Black Theol- 
ogy or White Theology but God's Theology; neither is there a Black 
or White Church History, but the Church's History and so on and 
so on. What we have is such a diversity of experiences, expressions 
and unique emphases that when one is left out Theology, Church 
History, Homiletics are incomplete. Unfortunately, the very neces- 
sary emphasis on Black Theology, History and Preaching by black 
theologians, historians and homileticians resulted as a reaction to 
the incompleteness of these divisions in the course of study. 

If theological education is done as I have outlined above then 
black and white together are exposed to the whole Church and can 
help to inform each other through their varied experiences. From 
this comes exposure of the diversity of liturgy, homiletical style 
and skill, leadership approach, theology and hermeneutical presup- 
postion that exists in the whole Body. The greater the exposure in 
all divisions of theological study the more we will loosen the dog- 
matism and ignorance that exist. In this way we can begin to see 
and appreciate that the learning process is not one-sided. After all, 
we take this approach with our liberal brothers (at least some of us 
do) — why not with our black brothers? We might just find out that 
we can learn something about hermeneutics from the Black 
Church by discovering that their approach to interpretation of the 
Scriptures is not as simplistic as the terms "fundamentals" and 
"literal" imply. 

To enhance this experience the classroom instructor might bring in 
practitioners in these areas of specialty and/or accomplish it through 
reading and research assignments. The complaint of many blacks is 
that either it is not included at all or that it is so watered down that 
it fails to appreciate the black differences on an equal basis. ^^ 

The failure to implement such a structure is quite evident in the 
ethnocentristic attitudes and unChristian conduct of many white 


seminarians toward their black counterparts in class. Unfortu- 
nately, they are often unaware of just how overt and obvious their 
actions are. A slight elbow, a fixation with a remote object, casual 
conversation while others speak, and utter disgust on their face 
with the black that has been adjudged below the white's standards 
are but a few of their obvious mannerisms. Blacks are quite sen- 
sitized to these mannerisms after more than 200 years of it in all 
other sectors of life. It is lamentable that it should be seen in the 
highest educational institution of the Church. It is even more la- 
mentable that it is to be seen in the very actions of those being 
trained to go out as "change agents" among those who act this way 
as a normal and accepted way of life. One has to wonder what kind 
of changes will take place and what the seminarian's actions or si- 
lence will convey to those whom they will lead? For a most preva- 
lent foundational basis for perpetuation of black-white division is 
ignorance which is often due to silence and distortion. 

Now that I have addressed curriculum, the matter of context 
needs to be approached. In our academic realm there is frequently 
talk about forcing the student to seminary campuses so that he 
might be introduced to the spiritual atmosphere of campus life. 
One might ask just what kind of superior enhancement exists in 
mandates that trickle down from "on high" by those who have little 
knowledge of or sensitivity to the real world of many seminary stu- 
dent bodies? What kind of spiritual enhancement occurs in one 
locale over another especially when it fails to take into considera- 
tion the differences of black seminarians? What about bi-vocational 
pastors, heavy pastoral responsibilities, cost, travel time and mix- 
ture of student body? How do these considerations measure against 
an unproven spiritual enhancement on some remote predominantly 
white campus engendered by the insensitive dictates of some body 
who is not in touch with the real world of ministry? Who needs the 
most exposure to the other's milieu and mores? Is it the black who 
has been introduced to the white dominated structures in all sec- 
tors of our society all of his life in a predominantly monologic man- 
ner? Or is it the white who has very rarely been introduced to the 
problems, manner of thinking and mores of the black structure in a 
dialogic theological setting?^^ 

It is usually at this point that the concepts of "evangelistic mis- 
sion" and "pastoral concern" are invoked. It is insisted that minis- 
ters are proclaimer's of the word and are to be concerned with tak- 
ing care of their congregations. Certainly, this is true, but it is only 
part of the truth. One might ask what happened to the "prophetic 
word" and what happened to the exhortations to the congregation 
about unchristian conduct and attitudes as a part of pastoral con- 
cerns and care?^^ 


Two Seminaries or One 

We must ask whether it is just our curriculum that makes our 
education system different than the secular system? Shall we pro- 
ject the same image as that of our counterparts in secular higher 
educational institutions? Or, is it our mission that sets us apart, 
because we view it as ministry? Hopefully, we will reject any 
"ivory tower theology" and any abstract pedagogical structure that 
is so implacable it fails to be relevant to the needs of those we 
serve. Herein lies the key. Whom do we serve and how well are we 
serving Him and them? When we cease to see our seminaries as a 
calling to a ministerium dei for the matheton theou we cease to be 
an3^hing different than a secular educational institution. 

This must as a prerequisite require an ongoing flexibility in our 
structure that allows for modifications that will help us meet the 
needs of those that are left out because of inflexible and introverted 
structures. Jesus never created a structure nor failed to condemn 
any approach that was so rigid in its religiosity (attitude, action, 
method, system or structure) that it excluded those in need.^® This 
should be especially true for those who find themselves left out, 
struggling or near drowning through a tremendous historical bur- 
den which consists of a mixture of economic, social, educational or 
ministerial deprivation through no fault of their own. Forced to 
run in the sand for decades while their counterparts ran on cinder 
they are suddenly thrust upon the cinder track and told to run 
equally with their counterparts. When a rare few adapt quickly 
enough to run just as fast, it becomes justification for leaving the 
masses behind. 

Now, I must not lay an unequal share of the blame on the 
seminaries without placing due blame at the doorsteps of adminis- 
trators of accrediting associations and denominational headquar- 
ters. Some of these people remain quite remote from the real world 
of practical ministry and are quite unconcerned with the contex- 
tual problems facing pastors attending seminary. The inflexibility 
in their structures as they sit in their ivory towers setting up 
"straw men" (i.e. quality education) to hide behind while failing to 
consider equally important contextual needs has contributed di- 
rectly to the failure of many seminaries in fulfilling their mission. 

It is this seemingly intransigent catch 22 (rigidity of accrediting 
associations and the accredited seminaries's desire to maintain ac- 
creditation)^^ that has caused many black theologians, pastors, 
educators and laymen to suggest that the only solution is two 
seminaries. From my perspective the two seminary concept takes 
on more than one form. It can be full-fledged seminaries like 
Morehouse, Virginia Union and I.T.C., or Black Studies programs 


in white seminaries that are predominantly black attended, or 
black community centers, institutes, or church programs. The mes- 
sage being sent by all of these is that we need something of our 
own because we have been left out. History has shown the propo- 
nents of this view that a black-white dialogue that is totally open, 
sensitive and leads to effective action is highly unlikely. The 
Church is just as slow in making racial adjustments as the world is 
on other economic, social, educational and political matters. 

What I find the most disturbing is the obvious silence^^ and un- 
easiness of white theologians, practitioners and seminarians to 
talk about it. James D. Smart wrote a book nearly 15 years ago en- 
titled The Strange Silence of the Bible in the Church which is a 
study in hermeneutics. I find a peculiarly enigmatic silence on ra- 
cial attitudes in the church and seminaries today. And, if it is not 
addressed by the Body of Christ and in the church, then where will 
it be addressed? Is this uneasiness and silence due to unfamiliar- 
ity? Or, unconcern? Or, agreement? Or, fear of offending the "pil- 
lars" of the church? There is no such uneasiness or silence among 
this same group when different opinions on biblical authority, iner- 
rancy, or historial-critical method are posited. There is ample 
dialogue on these issues, but the silence on black-white issues is 
similar to that of the world. If we are silent long enough maybe the 
problem will go away or the other side will stop talking about it. 
Another approach is the insistence that we have come a long way 
and made a lot of progress. "Your turn is coming!" 

It is this type of attitude towards the issue that creates the great- 
est amount of outrage from a black perspective. It is because I 
know that few really want to hear what I am saying here that 
pains me the most in writing this article. The fact that it will fall 
on mostly deaf ears in the Body of Christ that cherishes so dearly 
the term "prophetic" is an indescribable lament. The cry is always 
"don't rock the boat" (e.g. criticize the structure or system) or you 
will slow down the progress. 

Unfortunately, being put off is no longer acceptable to many. My 
fear is that we are headed in the direction of two seminaries and, 
without question, both sides will be the losers. There is, however, 
too much intransigence on the white side and too great a need on 
the black side which is pressing us inexorably in that direction. 
Unless rhetoric ceases and a fruitful black-white dialogue occurs it 
is already a fait accompli. It is a most lamentable state of affairs 
for God's chosen masterpiece of reconciliation, unity, care and con- 
cern for the needs of others to be projecting such an image in its 
most vital institution. The Scriptures speak too much about unity 
and Jesus suffered, bled and died for it. Paul went to jail, suffered 
immensely and risked losing invaluable friendships with the "pil- 


lars of the church." And, Paul wrote some of the most painful as 
well as lofty letters in support of reconciliation and the one true 
Church, not two. With such a tradition passed on to us how can we 
allow this division to plague our theological systems? I cannot ac- 
cept that two seminaries of this nature are better than the one 
mandated and described in the Scriptures. 

This is not to say that certain distinct types of educational in- 
stitutions are wrong in and of themselves and should cease to exist. 
We will probably have denominational seminaries until the Lord 
returns. They are fine as long as they are talking to one another, 
accepting and informing one another in open dialogue. The free- 
dom of students to cross denominational lines as they choose for 
broader educational exposure in the Christian family is invaluable. 

This is also true of certain types of community training that can- 
not be done in any other way.^^ But it is when institutions emerge 
as a result of any group being left out and their needs unmet by 
those in a position to help that warning signals should be heard. 
When we fail to enter into dialogue regarding this matter, then we 
have lost sight of what the ministry of theological education is 
about.^^ God forbid that we should fail to seize the opportunity for 
fruitful black-white dialogue on theological education and continue 
to hamper the Body of Christ through division in our highest and 
most important educational system. ^^ 


^The party could have addressed both race and gender by choosing some- 
one like Barbara Jordan if they really had concern for both. 

^James Earl Massey, "The Relational Imperative." Spectrum 47 (July, 
1971), p. 15 says that "the suffering of Black Americans has caused them 
to ask why it comes from the very hands of those who have been trustees 
and guardians of the Christian message. And the Black American's experi- 
ence also continues to be a living rebuke against theological systems that 
do not speak to concrete situations of human need." 

^See especially the Ephesian and Galatian epistles. 

*Gal. 2:1 Iff. 

^Technically, although we often trace our English terms laity and clergy 
to these two terms, both of them refer to "all of the people of God." Consult 
the standard lexicons and theological dictionaries for more details. 

^In I Clement 40:6, Glenn E. Hinson, ed., Christian Classics: The Early 
Church Fathers. (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1980). Clement of Rome was 
the first to associate the term laymen with the term LAIKOS instead of 
LAOS. The classical meaning of LAIKOS is uneducated, inarticulate 
people whereas LAOS generally has the meaning "people of God" LAIKOS 
is never used in Scripture. 'However, Clement's inappropriate association 
has set this term in history and in many circles it remains intact. 


^See particularly James Garlow, Partners in Ministry: Laity and Pastors 
Working Together. (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1981). 

^See especially Harold Lindsell's two books The Battle for the Bible and 
The Bible in the Balance (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976 and 1979) which 
brought this matter to a head. 

Cf. the most recent controversy over Robert Gundry's redactional com- 
mentary on Matthew in JETS Vol. 26, No. 1, March 1983 which is devoted 
entirely to this controversy. 

^See for instance Rex A. Koivisto's analysis of Clark Pinnock's position 
on Scripture and Pinnock's response in JETS, June 1981, pp. 139-155. 

Cf. the position of ICBI in their latest work Hermeneutics, Innerrancy 
and the Bible. (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1984); Biblical Errancy: An 
Analysis of its Philosophical Roots. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981); 
James M. Boice, ed. The Foundation of Biblical Authority (Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1978), with James Barr, The Scope and Authority of the Bible, 
(Westminister, 1981); Paul Achtemeier The Inspiration of Scripture, 
(Westminister, 1979); R.E. Brown, The Critical Meaning of the Bible 
Paulist, 1981); J.B. Rogers and D.K. McKim, ed. The Authority and In- 
terpretation of the Bible: An Historical Approach (Harper & Row, 1979) for 
the opposing viewpoints. Consider then the position of the centrist C.F.H. 
Henry, God, Revelation and Authority vol. 4. (Waco: Word, 1979) 

^"Marshall C. Grigsby, "The Black Religious Experience and Theological 
Education — 1970-1976: A Six- Year Assessment" Theological Education 
13 (Winter, 1977): 83 feels that more needs to be done to take serious ac- 
count of the black context and experience. 

Andrew White, "The Role of the Black Church in the Liberation Strug- 
gle." Spectrum 47 (July, 1971), p. 10 is specific in what that context and 
experience consists of when he says "the experience is one of blunt rejec- 
tion, economic deprivation, social isolation; being excluded from, omitted 
from, exploited, by-passed, suppressed, scorned, brutally beaten, shot 
down, lynched and mistreated in a thousand different ways solely because 
one is Black." 

I hasten to add that the Black pastor has not been excluded from this 
type of treatment, in fact he even finds it in the seminary and amongst his 
white counterparts. His burden is not to be overcome by it so that he 
might be able to help his people to overcome it without losing hope, becom- 
ing embittered or responding in a like manner. 

^^Unfortunately, the Black church is generally behind in the "shared 
ministry" concept because of the unique role played by the Black pastor in 
the community and church that is a part of our tradition created more or 
less by this racist society. This must change, for younger generations are 
no longer willing to accept the leadership styles in the Black church that 
their parents knew. 

Emmanual L. McCall. "Theological Education in the Black Church." Re- 
view and Expositor 75 (Summer, 1978):418 a Southern Baptist is insightful 
when he states that "it is necessary to help black pastors understand the 
validity of a shared ministry with the laity. For some men this will be ex- 
tremely traumatic since the prevalent role model is the minister who is 
'all in air to his chvu-ch and community." 

^^For a brief synopsis of how the major denominations have approached 
blacks regarding Christian education see Grant S. Shockley, "Christian 
Education and the Black Church: A Contextual Approach." The Journal of 
the I.T.C. 2 (Spring, 1975):75-88. Cf. Alain Rogers, "The African Methodist 


Episcopal Church: A Study in Black Nationalism." The Black Church 1, 
No. 1 (1972):17-43 for an A.M.E. biographical account of how blacks were 
actually forced out of the white church into a separatist chvu-ch of their 

i^Cf. Gayraud S. Wilmore, "Tension Points in Black Church Studies." 
Christian Century 96 (April 11, 1979): 411-413 who as one of our most re- 
vered Black theologians and pioneers in this area of Black Studies prog- 
rams and techniques takes a different approach than mine. 

^"^Ibid, p. 413. Wilmore says "it is my contention that any white semi- 
nary graduate who has not had some exposure to the history, theology and 
praxis of black religions in America ... is not prepared for ministry in the 
kind of world we must live in today." 

Without question Professor Wilmore's conclusion must receive its fair 
hearing, but my concern is more with the method or the perception of the 
techniques used to accomplish this task. It is here where Wilmore and I 

^^Massey, p. 15 says "no imported system of theology has been relevant 
to the Black man's life in America." 

White, p. 18 adds that even our denominational labels are hand-me- 
downs. "Protestant denominations among Black people are known as Bap- 
tist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Congregational, etc., but none 
called Black or Negro." 

^®C. Eric Lincoln, "The Black Church in the American Society: A New 
Responsibility?" The Journal of the I.T.C. 6 (Spring, 1979):93 is most in- 
sightful when he says "perhaps it was not incidental that when God raised 
up a man to lead America through the racial crisis that had troubled us for 
more than a century. He did not turn to the wealth and power, the tradi- 
tion and experience, the prestige and the glory of the establishment 
churches in America. They had their chance, and they had defaulted (my 
emphasis). But God raised up a leader from the Black Church. Perhaps 
God was trying to say something to America in general, and the Black 
Church in particular. Is anybody listening?" 

^^James A. Sanders, God Has A Story Too. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 
1979) in his prophetic/constitutive hermeneutic paradigm would ask white 
pastors when was the last time they "afflicted the comfortable" of their 
congregation on the racial issue. It is this t5rpe of preaching that makes 
the word come alive and relevant to our times. It further answers the 
charge by liberals that conservatives are a group of self-appointed guard- 
ians of a word no longer relevant to our times. 

^^See for example Mark 7:1-13 where Jesus condemned the Pharisees for 
invoking the claim of Corban (transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning a 
gift, particularly to God) to escape their responsibility of supporting their 

^^It is this type of stalemate with accrediting associations that have 
caused many seminaries to reject the accreditation of certain associations. 

^"Wilmore, p. 413 says that "what distresses me is the silence on this 
subject in most places. Black church studies is doing well enough where it 
exists. The problem is that in too many of the so-called leading theological 
schools in the U.S. it simply doesn't exist." 

^^Bishop John Hurst Adams "Education Toward the Entire Church." 
Theologian Education 15 (Spring, 1979): 113 says that "the persons serv- 
ing the church as productive ministers who have not been, could not be, or 


will not be able to secure a graduate professional theological education 
need training, credentials, and recognition of their ministry consistent 
with their service." 

But even here we must ask if there is not some type of joint responsibil- 
ity encumbent upon our theological seminaries and whether that responsi- 
bility is denominationally or culturally bound? See William H. Myers, "To- 
wards a Whole Ecclesiology: A Theological/Empirical/Practical Project on 
Laity Training." Doctor of Ministry Dissertation, Ashland Theological 
Seminary, 1984 where I have attempted to address this issue and offered a 
variety of approaches and recommendations as to how this might be ac- 

Further, I refer all seminaries to the Lilly Project as one superb 
paradigm in black-white dialogic education. This was a pioneer project 
under the direction of Professor Gayraud Wilmore of Colgate Rochester. It 
is documented as "Black PastorsAVhite Professors: An Experiment in 
Dialogic Education." Theological Education 16, Special Issue 1, Winter 

^^Harold Hunt, Rational Dialogue: A Challenge to Religious Education." 
Religious Education 76 (May-June, 1981):286 says that antidialogics are 
the result when one's life experience is rejected. 

^^The interested reader can obtain a more comprehensive literature, re- 
source, paradigm bibliography on either the "black-white experience 
dichotomy" or the "laity-clergy experience movement" for a nominal fee by 
contacting Ashland Theological Seminary and referring to my work. 


Steeple Sitters 

by Mary Ellen Drushal 

When you were a child, did you ever walk across the yard look- 
ing through the large lenses of binoculars? I did that once and 
promptly walked into a tree! Observing scenes through the large 
lenses sufficiently distorts one's perspective to make things appear 
a distance away when in reality they are much closer. 

The same visual distortion occurs within the church, especially 
evangelical churches. Constituents within these churches scrutinize 
Scripture through binoculars and even magnifying glasses to con- 
clude that God's Word is inerrant, infallible and the only sufficient 
guide and foundation for ministry. God's Word is truth and therefore 
the only rule for practice. So why does the whole counsel of God go 
unnoticed? Do evangelical believers become "steeple sitters" and 
peer at their world through the large end of the binoculars? 

In Matthew 22:34-39, a lawyer quizzed Jesus regarding the most 
significant commandment in the Law. He said there were two: love 
the Lord your God with your whole being and love your neighbor 
as yourself. Certainly believing Christians love God and His Word, 
the historic family album. But loving your neighbor as yourself 
creates a different dilemma. That implies we must first love our- 
selves and then translate that love from God to our neighbors 
through observable and demonstrative acts of love. 

Do we love ourselves? Do we adequately love and care for our 
neighbors? What constitutes a corporate response to these com- 

Loving Oneself 

We are created in the image of God. In Genesis 1:27 God states: 
"And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He 
created him; male and female He created them." We are His chil- 
dren (John 1:12) created and gifted uniquely to serve Him (I 
Corinthians 12). Frequently in the church, we are warned that lov- 
ing oneself immediately connotes the concept of pride and Scrip- 
ture speaks to this perversion "... do not think of yourselves more 
highly than you ought to think ..." (Romans 12:3). Loving oneself 
directly reflects our understanding of the person of God, that He is 
who He said, and that He can and does do what Scripture records 
(Ephesians 1:5-7). To not love ourselves amounts to blasphemy! 

Love of Neighbors 

You may be saying to yourself, "well, I can understand loving 


Grod and loving myself through His revealed plan for me, but love 
my neighbor as myself? Who is my neighbor anyway?" Scripture 
gives a very clear and distinct answer to that question. When Jesus 
was sending the disciples out as witnesses of the truth they had 
seen, He instructed them to begin "from Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47) 
or right where they were. In Acts 1:8, the instruction was specific, 
Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, or right where you are, then to the 
state, next the country, and finally to the "remotest part of the 

While "in Jerusalem" we are responsible to feed the flock, both 
spiritual and literal food (I Peter 5:1-4). We are commanded to care 
for and help meet the needs of those believers around us in our con- 
gregation. But unfortunately, most "steeple sitters" stop at this 
point. Brothers and sisters, I fear we are sufficiently busy and con- 
tent in caring for the needs of our own that we fail to exhibit con- 
cern about those who live in the next county or city, let alone the 
adjacent state or foreign country. If we believe God's Word to be 
true and without error, then why do we practice such a small por- 
tion of it? 

Because we have such a high view of Scripture, we often look 
down our spiritual noses at more liberal interpreters of the Word 
and at their implementation of what is called "the social Gospel." 
And yet, many of them may fare better on the day of Judgment be- 
cause they did what Jesus said, "to feed the hungry, clothe and 
shelter the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned" (Matthew 

Loving our neighbors as ourselves requires more than witnessing 
to them and bringing them, through the power of the Holy Spirit, 
into the fold of the Lord. We must also minister to their needs and 
sometimes this precedes their coming to Christ! Right now, while 
you are reading this, take out a sheet of paper and begin to analyze 
your individual and your church's program of outreach beyond the 
local congregation. Include on that list organized programs of the 
church as well as ministries that are carried on by one or two indi- 
viduals. The proof of what I'm saying lies in the length of that list. 
How many items are there — two, four, seven, or are there none 

Now, let's get specific regarding this personal inventory. When 
was the last time you or someone you know visited a person in 
prison? List the most recent person you visited in a nursing home. 
How often has your family invited a divorcee and children for a 
meal or an outing? How recently did you take a meal to a family 
experiencing some difficulty? Throughout the week, does your 
church have an empty nursery where a day care center could be 
provided for children of working parents? 


By now you likely have one of two responses — either the Holy 
Spirit has convicted you of your own and/or your church's failings 
or shortcomings in implementing the loving Gospel of our Lord, or 
you have become defensive and angry and a heated rebuttal letter 
is forming in your mind. Often consciences are salved by saying: "I 
can't minister to someone in prison. It's too dangerous a place;" or 
"Offer shelter to someone I don't know? Why I could get mugged or 
killed;" or "Nursing homes are depressing;" or "My church will not 
provide a day care facility, because we don't want to provide par- 
ents with an easy out to foist off their children on the church while 
they work." Interestingly, the psalmist wrote a beautiful poem in 
Psalm 91 to ease these expressed anxieties. And Grod, Himself has 
promised His presence to those who serve Him (Matthew 28:20). 
Friends, admit it — we are without excuse before the Lord and our 
judgment will be quick and sure on that day when we stand before 
the Almighty God. Will our excuses for not ministering in His 
name stand up to His scrutiny? 

Romans 6:16 states: "Do you not know that when you present 
yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the 
one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience 
resulting in righteousness?" No equivocation can be gleaned from 
that statement. Either we serve God or Satan, there is no half and 
half. How can we love His Word and not obey it? James reminds us 
to "prove ourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who 
delude themselves" (James 1:22). 

The Churches Response 

By faith, in faith, and through faith, the challenge lies before 
each reader to do the following: 

1. examine your own commitment to Scripture and all its 

2. critically analyze your individual and then your church's 
response to loving neighbors; 

3. evaluate the effectiveness of current efforts in meeting the 
needs of individuals; and then 

4. think creatively (that means beyond the traditional expec- 
tations) about specific ways you and others in your congre- 
gation might carry out our Lord's commands. 

Be reminded that we teach little by verbal prattle, but much by 
what we do and are. • 

Loving neighbors takes time, energy, commitment, conviction, 
action, and frequently receives criticism. Jesus was well ac- 
quainted with the critics of His day but that didn't deter Him from 
His task. Jesus ministered to and met the needs of many outside 
His own covenant family or group. There were no government 


programs or subsidies to meet neighbors' needs. In fact, there 
might not be today if the church had obeyed Jesus' commands! 
Neighbors reside in every community who will not have their basic 
survival needs met unless Christian carpenters, lawyers, doctors, 
educators, plumbers, factory workers, and presidents of corpora- 
tions, become active in implementing God's Word. 

It is time — in fact, past time — for "steeple sitters" to come 
down from their lofty perch and focus their binoculars using the 
correct lens on the issue and situations that face neighbors. Love is 
not a noun, it is a verb. John 14:15, instructs: "If you love me, you 
will keep my commandments." Love translates into obedience; obe- 
dience into conviction; and conviction into action. 

Let us (both individually and corporately) be about the task of 
loving our neighbors and ministering to them in the name of our 
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! 






Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio 

Fall 1985 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 


Fall 1985 


[ntroduction to the Current Issue 

\ Contemporary Model: Jesus as Friend 
by JoAnn Ford Watson 

rhe Experiential Value of the Critical Incident 
by Santosh Jain and Gary Greer 

rheology of Missions 

by Samuel Hugh Moffett 

God is Love 

by Virgil Meyer 

Editorial Committee: 

David A. Rausch, Editor 
William H. Myers 
Ben Witherington, III 






-Volume XVIII No. I 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

Introduction To The Current Issue 

In this 1985 issue, our contributors discuss a variety of issues surrounding 
tile theological dimensions of interpersonal relationships. Dr. JoAnn Ford 
Watson, Assistant Professor of Historical Theology, uses her theological 
expertise to articulate a paradigm of Jesus as Friend. In 'A Contemporary 
Model: Jesus as Friend," she defines this paradigm as it is discussed by 
Jiirgen Moltmann and Sallie McFague, explaining its importance for human 
relationships as well as the vibrant life of the Church. Her discourse is both 
provocative and timely. 

Our second essay, "The Experiential Value of the Critical Incident," 
describes the positive interface between contemporary psychology and biblical 
Christianity. Written by co-workers at the Joliet Correctional Center, Dr. 
Santosh Jain and Rev. Gary Greer, this article details experiences that have led 
each to develop inner sensitivity toward individual suffering and pain. The 
lessons learned enable the reader to share the experience of both the psycholo- 
gist and the counselor that there is "an ember of eternal potentiality that glows 
in the breast of every member of the human family." 

Samuel Hugh Moffett, Professor of Ecumenics at Princeton Theological 
Seminary, delivered "Theology of Missions" during our Fall Lecture Series in 
October, 1984. In this third selection, his struggle between a "Salvationist' 
theology of mission versus the more modern "theology of the Kingdom" is 
instructive and personal. The role of missions and its challenge for the Christian 
Church's relationships with the non-Christian world is scrutinized, developing 
theological lessons in obedience. His message has been kept in style and 
presentation as he delivered it, with minimal editorial changes to capture the 
spirit of the address. 

Our sermonic piece for this issue is by Rev. Virgil Meyer, for many years Direc- 
tor of Religious Affairs at Ashland College and Associate Dean at ATS. That 
his sermon is entitled "God Is Love" is appropriate, because Rev. Meyer has 
personified love to thousands of students and parishoners. A former 
Moderator of the General and District Conference of the Brethren Church, 
Virgil has pastored in Iowa, Indiana and Ohio. He is known for his deep 
compassion and concern as well as the giant bear hug he readily gives anyone 
within reach. 

This completes my fifth and final year as editor of the Ashland Theological 
Journal. The task has been rewarding and challenging, and I have many 
individuals to thank for their help and encouragement. It is with mixed 
emotions that I pass on the mantle, confident that the next five years will find 
our journal improved in the process. 

— David A. Rausch, Editor 

A Contemporary Model: Jesus As Friend 

by JoAnn Ford Watson 

For Christianity, the disciphne of theology seeks to articulate concepts 
)f Jesus Christ which will be understandable to the contemporary church 
md world. Theology engages various tools which give concrete ways of 
expressing the being of Christ by bringing to light an aspect of Christ's 
Derson which can speak to us today. It is a rediscovery of langauge and 
expressions for Christ which can have significant meaning for us today. 
3ne such tool is a model or paradigm. A model is an exemplary or 
igurative way of describing Christ. 

This essay will offer a discussion of a contemporary model for Jesus, 
he model of Jesus as Friend, as it comes to us from the modern 
heologians, Jurgen Moltmann and Sallie McFague. First, we will define 
he Model of Jesus as Friend; second, explain this model for human 
"elationships; and third, give an interpretation of this model for the 
:ontemporary life of the Church. 

The Model of Jesus as Friend 

The model of Jesus as Friend defines Jesus as one who offers 
affirmation of humanity as he works to bring about relationships 
A'hich are characterized by mutuality and friendship in divine love and 
Teedom — Jesus as Friend is a parable of God as Friend. Jesus as Friend 
s One who identifies with humanity in its suffering and joins with 
lumanity in mutual empowering of persons to bring about a better 

Jurgen Moltmann discusses this concept of Jesus as Friend. For 
Vloltmann, Jesus illustrated friendship in his life and thus Jesus is a Friend 
o humanity. Moltmann reinterprets the traditional offices of Christ as 
Drophet, priest and king in terms of Jesus' friendship. As a prophet, 
fesus brings the gospel of the Kingdom to the poor and becomes the friend 
Df tax-collectors and sinners. As the high priest, he offers himself "for 
nany" and consummates his love by dying as a friend for a friend. As 
he exalted Lord, he liberates humanity from its bondage and allows for 
lumanity to be friends for others. As the one who is glorified, he 
ntercedes with the Father for the world. In Jesus' name, friendship with 
jod is possible through prayer.' 

For Moltmann, the many-faceted work of Christ, which in the doc- 
Tine of Christ's three-fold office was presented in terms of sovereignty 
md function, can be taken to its highest point in his friendship. The joy 
kvhich Christ communicates and the freedom which he brings as prophet, 

priest and king find better expression in the concept of friendship than in 
the ancient tides. Moltmann states, "For in his divine function as prophet, 
priest and king. Christ lives and acts as a friend and creates friendship.'"" 

In the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as "friend" in two 
important passages. In Luke 7:34: "The Son of man has come eating and 
drinking; and you say, 'Behold a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax- 
collectors and sinners!"" Jesus accepted public sinners. Jesus' striking 
friendship with sinners and tax-collectors lies in his joy in God. in the 
future and in human existence. Jesus becomes the friend of sinners in 
that he reveals God's friendship to the unlikeable. to those who have been 
treated badly or alienated from society. 

In John 15:13, Jesus declares himself to be the friend of his disciples. 
When he calls them to himself, he calls them into a new life of 
friendship: "Greater love has no man that this, that a man lay down his 
life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you." 
Here, the sacrifice of one's own life for one's friends is the highest 
form of love. Love manifests itself here as friendship. When he cites 
friendship as the motive for Jesus' sacrificing his life, John means a love 
that exists, that is faithful unto death. He means a knowing sacrifice for 
the sake of friends' lives. 

Through Jesus' death, the disciples become friends of Jesus forever. 
They remain in his friendship, if they follow his commandments and 
become friends to others. The relationship therefore of men and women 
to God is no longer simply a dependent, obedient relation of servants 
to their Master. Nor is it simply the relation of human children to a 
heavenly Father. For Moltmann, in the fellowship of Jesus, the disciples 
become friends of God. In the fellowship of Jesus, they no longer 
experience God only as Lord, nor only as Father; rather they also 
experience him in his innermost nature as Friend. 

Moltmann defines Jesus as Friend who demonstrates God as Friend. 
Sallie McFague understands God as Friend who illustrates Jesus as Friend. 
She brings to the fore the model of God as Friend. McFague seeks 
images of God which speak of the freeing love of God. the new quality 
of relationship in Jesus which fosters freedom over against structure. 
McFague states: 

The images which tumble from the mouths of those experienc- 
ing the liberating love of God are not meant to describe God 
so much as to suggest the new quality of relationship being 
offered to them. Hence, religious metaphors and the models 
that emerge from them are not pictures of God but images 
of a relationship; as such, they are nonrestrictive and highly 

McFague offers the model of God as Friend to express God's unique 
relationship of freedom with humanity. She refers to the use of the 
metaphor of friend in the Bible. In terms of the Old Testament, the 
inclusion of all Israel as the friend of God is seen in Isaiah who states, 
"But you, Israel my servant, you Jacob whom I have chosen, race of 
Abraham my friend" (Isaiah 41:18). Friendship with God is also 
suggested in biblical passages referring to companionship or fellowship 
with God (Joshua 1:15), partnership with God (Hosea 2:23) and in the 
New Testament, (I John 1:3, John 17:21, I Cor. 3:9). Like Moltmann, 
McFague points out Jesus' use of friend in two passages: in Jesus' saying 
that there is no greater love than laying down one's life for one's friends 
(John 15:13), and in Jesus' reference to the Son of Man as the friend of 
tax-collectors (Matt. 11:19, Luke 7:39).' 

For McFague. the model of God as Friend takes on special significance 
in terms of Jesus* suffering for humanity. She states that if one of the 
most meaningful contemporary understandings of the atonement is the 
suffering of God for and with the pain and oppression of the world, then 
the model of God as Friend takes on special significance. Jesus in his 
life and especially at his death is a parable of God's friendship with 
humanity at its most profound level. McFague states that this is evident 
in Jesus' parables. In parables such as the Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, 
the Good Samaritan and the Great Supper, Jesus welcomes outcasts and 
turns the conventionally righteous away. In Jesus' reading from Isaiah 61:1-2 
of the Beatitudes in Luke, he proclaims good news to the poor, release 
to the captives and liberty for the oppressed. The most dramatic example 
of Jesus' identification with the sufferings of humanity is seen in Jesus' 
table-fellowship with sinners and tax-collectors. 

McFague discusses the passage in Matt. 11:19 in the same way 
Moltmann discussed this idea in Luke 7:34: Jesus as a friend of tax- 
collectors and sinners. McFague makes the observation that Joachin 
Jeremias, Gunther Bomkamm and Norman Perrin agree that Jesus' practice 
of eating with the outcasts of his society was both the central feature and 
the central scandal of his ministry. Jesus' table-fellowship both shocked 
his enemies and impressed his followers because eating with others was 
one of the closest forms of intimacy for Jews of that time and conveyed 
honor to those chosen. One did not eat with the ritually unclean, with 
Gentiles and with those in despised trades; hence, for Jesus to eat with 
such peoples, to be called "the friend" of such people was a scandal to 
most people as well as a form of radical acceptance for his friends at 
table. The acceptance of the outcasts and the oppressed at table is a 
concrete enactment of forgiveness of sins. Jesus extends forgiveness and 

salvation to the outcasts of society. 

I affirm with McFague that Jesus in his friendship with outcasts and 
sinners is a model of friendship with God. Jesus as parable enacts God's 
friendship with humanity. The God of Jesus is the One who invites 
humanity to table to eat together as friends. Jesus is a parable of God 
as Friend in his befriending of sinners and outcasts. 

Furthermore, McFague points out as did Jiirgen Moltmann that Jesus 
as a friend lays down his life for humanity (John 15:12-15). If Jesus is 
the friend who identifies with the sufferings of the oppressed in his 
table-fellowship against all expectations and conventions, so also is he 
the one who in his death lays down his life for his friends. Jesus' way 
of expressing his love for his friends also ought to be our way of 
expressing gratitude for such love — we too must lay down our lives by 
the example of Jesus. Thus, we are no longer called "servants" but 
"friends," doing for others what our friend did for us. Jesus is a Friend 
of humanity even unto death. 

The Model of Friend for the Ethic of Friendship 

This model of Jesus as Friend understands Jesus as one who suffers 
with humanity yet one who seeks to work within creation for a new 
humanity; that is, to foster new relationships beyond the sufferings of 
humanity which then opens a new creation of wholeness, equality and 
mutuality. The model of Jesus as Friend affects new relationships between 
humanity. The model of Friend offers an ethic of friendship. Friendship 
in human relationships in terms of freedom and mutuality is indigeneous 
to the model of Jesus as Friend. 

Let us draw now upon Jiirgen Moltmann's expression of this idea of 
friendship in freedom. For Moltmann, friendship is a deep human 
relation that arises out of freedom, consists in mutual freedom and 
preserves this freedom. Moltmann contends that we are not by nature 
free, but become so only when someone likes us. Friendship combines 
respect with affection. One does not have to submit to a friend. One 
neither looks up to nor down at a friend. One can look a friend in the 
face. In friendship one experiences oneself, just as one is readily 
accepted and respected in one's own freedom. Moltmann states, "When 
one person likes another, then the one respects the other in his or her 
individuality, and delights in his or her singularities as well." 

Friendship exists without compulsion or constraint. It is freedom to 
help, to suffer with, to confide in and to share joy with a friend. 
Freedom in friendship overcomes existing social structures and enables 
humanity to be whole persons in the relationship of friendship. 
Moltmann declares that between friends there rules no prejudice that 

defines one and no ideal image after which one must strive. A friend 
is the new person; the true person, the free person. Friendship is open 
respect and affection for each person as a whole human being. 

In Jesus Christ as the Friend, friendship is not a closed circle among 
peers. In Jesus' incarnation, in the cross and in his friendship with 
sinners and tax-collectors, there is an inclusivity of humanity as friends 
of Jesus. Moltmann contends that because of Christ, Christian friend- 
ship cannot be lived within a closed circle of the faithful but must be 
open in public affection and respect for others. Jesus' friendship for his 
disciples, for sinners and tax-collectors is not a private secluded friend- 
ship but within the circle of Jesus, there is an openness, inclusivity of 
Jesus toward all humanity. It is open friendship 

Jesus as Friend fosters an understanding of mutual friendship for 
humanity that is characterized by affirmation of the whole personhood 
of the individual in love. Jesus demonstrates this love in friendship in 
light of his messianic mission as the Christ. Jesus as the Christ, as the 
Friend of all humanity, inaugurates new life that is characterized by love. 
This love is exemplified by Jesus for his friends, especially Mary, 
Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10:38ff, John 11, 12). 

The story of Lazarus in John 11:3-44 illustrates Jesus' love for his friend, 
Lazarus, as well as for Mary and Martha. The Greek for love in the phrase 
in John 11:5 ("Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus") is 
agapan. It is Jesus' infinite divine love for humanity, male and female. 
It is illustrated here when Jesus demonstrates divine love for his friends 
(male and female). In 11:3, 11, 36, the Greek for love is philein; 11:3: 
"Lord, he whom you love is ill," and 11:36: "See how he loved him," 
and 11:11: "Our friend (philos) Lazarus has fallen asleep." The Greek 
verb for love, phiieo, signifies Jesus' love or affection accorded to his 
friends, especially Lazarus. It is love in friendship. Raymond Brown states 
that philein and philos are used in 11:3, 11. 36 with the same significance 
as agapan in 11:5.'' 

I concur with Brown that these two verbs are used equally to express 
Jesus' divine love in friendship. The verbs, philein and agapan, 
illustrate Jesus' great infinite love for his friends, Mary, Martha and 
Lazarus. Jesus' friendship with humanity is of an infinite divine quality 
of love. Friendship for Jesus is characterized by divine love, agapan. 
Jesus demonstrates this in his life of ministry, death and resurrection. 
He calls it into being among humanity, among men and women. 
Friendship is not only affection but it must embody the divine love 
Jesus demonstrated with his friends. In Jesus, divine love is exemplified 
in friendship. 

I am discussing love, agapan, as it is primarily understood in the 

Johannine literature because here Jesus' divine love is expressed most 
concretely in terms of friendship. John exemplifies the divine love of 
Jesus as Friend. It is love which is the character of friendship. John 
emphasizes the love of Christ for those whom God has given him, for 
his friends. Through the Son, the love of God reaches the world and 
humanity. This love is divine; it reaches the world through Christ 
(John 17:23ff, 14:21ff). Jesus exemplifies this divine love in his circle of 
friends, for his disciples and for humanity (John 16:27b, 21:15-17). In 
John 13:23 and 15:13-16 agapan is used for love which indicates that 
Jesus calls his disciples, friends, in divine love. Jesus portrays the 
divine love of God and calls humanity to exemplify his love. Humanity, 
male and female, will show themselves to have the same friendship 
Jesus exemplified for his friends, if humanity loves as Jesus did. 

In the Johannine letters, the divine love of Jesus is put forth as a reality 
for the life of fellowship with one another in Christ. I John states. ''We 
love because he first loved us," (I John 4:19, agapan). In exemplifying 
this divine love with one another, humanity reflects this divine love in 
relationships, they exemplify the relationship that Jesus established with 
humanity in giving God's divine love: they become friends of God, and 
friends with one another (philoi) John III states. "Peace be to you. 
The friends (philoi) greet you. Greet the friends every one of them" 
(III John 15). In this mutual salutation, believers are friends of God and 
friends with one another in divine love which characterizes friendship. 
From the model of Jesus as Friend, there emerges a new ethic for human 
relationships: Friendship in freedom and mutuality through Jesus' divine 
love that can affirm whole personhood within the mutual sharing of God's 
divine love one to the other. 

The Model of Friend for Church 

The Church is the Community of Jesus Christ as Friend which can 
be the context for the ethic of friendship to be actualized (as in John). 
The Spirit of Jesus Christ as Friend penetrates the community of 
Christ to bring about a freedom and love which fosters affirmation and 
wholeness of personhood in friendship. In Christ, humanity is a new 
creation. E.S. Gerstenberger and W. Schrage declare that the Pauline letters 
give testimony to the fact that women and men are equally "new 
creations in Christ" (II Cor. 5:17). This comprehensive renewal implies 
equal worth of male and female in Christ. Therefore, Gerstenberger and 
Schrage contend that in the early period of the Church, men and 
women were called to service as "fellow workers of God" (I Cor. 3:9). 
During and after Easter, there are both men and women active in the 
Spirit of Christ in the Christian community. The Christian community 

is characterized by mutuality and partnership, friendship. Gerstenberger 
and Schrage state, "There is rather a community of sisters and brothers 
based on free co-operation among members with organizational forms 
of partnership." 

There is openness and co-operation between men and women in the 
Church. Paul states, "my fellow workers in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 16:3) 
or "these women . . . have labored side by side with me in the gospel" 
(Phil. 4:3). Therefore, men and women freely participate in the activity 
of the Christian community in the Spirit of Christ (I Cor. 12:4ff). 
Freedom in Christ is actualized in the early Christian community for all 
humanity. There is here a mutuality and co-operation with one another 
in the freedom and spirit of Christ. Jesus Christ as Friend bestows upon 
the Christian community his divine love which fosters friendship and 
mutuality among humanity in his name by the power of his Spirit. Through 
the power of Jesus Christ as Friend, there is in the Christian community, 
an affirmation of the wholeness of personhood. Jesus Christ as Friend 
bestows upon the Christian community a freeing love which fosters 
friendship and mutuality for humanity. 

Therefore, I believe that the Church today can reflect that same 
freeing love of Jesus Christ for humanity. The Church today can 
help to foster friendship with humanity in the Spirit of Christ by 
exemplifying his divine love one to another in freedom and friendship. 
The Galatians 3:28 passage reflects the intent for freedom and whole- 
ness of humanity in the divine love of Jesus as Friend of humanity for 
the Church and for the world. Patricia Remy states that the "real locus 
classicus for man and woman and indeed all humanity now redeemed 
in neighborly love for one another whether Jew or Greek, free or slave, 
male or female is Gal. 3:28."'^ 

Moltmann's understanding of the Church emphasizes this point. 
He understands the Church as a fellowship of friends Communio 
sanctorum or Congregatio sanctorum. It is the commandment in which 
the Spirit of Christ can be actualized for the wholeness and freedom of 
all humanity in friendship. The Church as the fellowship of friends 
illustrates that the power of Christ goes beyond the boundaries of race, 
sex and class. Friendship in the fellowship of the Church is a new 
relationship which goes beyond the societal roles of those involved. 
Friendship is an open relationship which spreads love because it 
combines affection with respect for all persons. The freedom which springs 
out of friendship is freeing for new life itself. It is the affirmation of 
humanity in Jesus. Jesus is Friend to humanity, and humanity can be friends 
to one another in loving friendship in the community of friends, the 
Church. Moltmann states: 

The Congregatio sanctorum, [the Church] the community 
of brethren is really the fellowship of friends who live in the 
friendship of Jesus and spread friendliness in the fellowship 
by meeting the forsaken with affection and the despised with 
The Church represents the Spirit of freedom and friendship in love which 

Jesus as Friend inaugurates. Love and wholeness is grounded in the love 

of Jesus; it is given for humanity to share in a community in friendship. 

Jesus as Friend fosters love for humanity and for the Church in a Spirit 

of freedom and friendship. 


Jurgen Moltman, The Church in the Power of the Spirit, translated by 
Margaret Kohl (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 1979). pp. 118-19. 

;ibid.. p. 119. 

Jiirgen Moltmann. The Passion For Life adapted translation by 
M, Douglas Meeks (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 1978). pp. 56-57. 

Ibid., p. 57. 

Sallie McFague. Metaphorical Theology, Models of God in Religious 
Language (Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 1982). p. 166. 

Ibid., p. 178. 

Ibid., pp. 180-81. 

'ibid., pp. 180-81. 

Moltmann. 77?^ Passion For Life, p. 51. 

Ibid., pp. 51-53. 

I' Ibid., pp. 60-63. 

'Raymond E. Brown, 77?^ Communirx of the Beloved Disciple 
(N^w York: Paulist Press, 1979), p. 191. 

Ethelbert Stauffer, "Agapao" in Tlie Tlieological Dictionary of the 
New Testament, edited by Gerhard Kittel, Vol. I. (Grand Rapids. 
Mjphigan: W.B. Eerdmans, 1964), pp. 52-53. 

Gustav Stahlin, "Phileo" in The Tlieological Dictionary of the New 
Testament, edited by Gerhard Kittel, Vol. IX, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: 
W.p. Eerdmans, 1974), pp. 165-66. 

E.S. Gerstenbereer and W. Schrage, Women and Man. translation 
D(^uglas Scott (Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon. 1981), pp. 149. 157. 

^Patricia Remy, "Karl Barth's Theology on Man and Woman,** 
Incomplete Dissertation for the University of Basel, Switzerland, 
Ju^e 18, 1978, Section 3, p. 49. 

Moltmann. The Church in the Power of the Spirit, pp. 316-317. 

The Experiential Value of the Critical Incident 

by Santosh Jain and Gary Greer 

Many seminaries across the country require their Master of Divinity 
and Doctor of Ministry students to pursue, in addition to their regular 
theological course work, participation in Clinical Pastoral Education 
programs. Students participating in these programs receive supervision 
from an accredited supervisor and function as pastoral interns in various 
medical hospitals, correctional institutions and mental health facilities. 
Along with their pastoral functioning, the C.P.E. student participates in 
individual counseling encounters with his supervisor as well as group 
dynamic processes with other students. 

Much has been said on the grassroots level of the C.P.E. programs about 
the learning process, a process called learning through the clinical 
method. Simply stated it is a method of learning whereby the student 
starts with and examines his prejudices, fears, attitudes, interpersonal and 
intrapersonal dynamics and faith system in the light of knowledge he 
receives in ministry, through group interaction and individual supervision. 

This clinical method of learning is quite different from the more 
traditional educational mode wherein the student is given neat little 
packages full of helpful facts and information into which the student must 
plug his experience, often without the benefit of much personal insight. 
The struggle to integrate theory with experience is often a painful and 
arduous one. An integral part of that clinical learning method is for the 
student to experience, document and analyze those incidents that arouse 
some significant issue in him. In the C.P.E. vernacular these events of 
awareness are written in a form called Critical Incident Reports. 
Obviously, each student's critical incidents are unique to him as he gains 
valuable personal insight through this living laboratory method. 

In the pages that follow, we would like to share a couple of such 
critical incidents that have become part of our experience as well as 
vehicles through which we have received invaluable spiritual insight and 
professional growth. We will begin with a narrative about Sarah which 
illustrates quite vividly some of the very same issues that seminarians, 
lay persons and clergymen might struggle with in the course of their 
seminary or pastoral experience. 

The Experience of Santosh Jain 

I had the privilege of seeing the patients and staff at the Rehabilitation 
Institute of Chicago, which is associated with Northwestern University 


Medical School, as a Staff Psychologist for about five years. Patients, 1 
who were physically and neurologically disabled, were provided with 
much needed psychological services at the Institute. My primary 
responsibilities included rendering psychodiagnostic and psychotherapeutic 
services to patients and their families, providing consultation for 
treatment teams regarding therapeutic management, developing and 
coordinating behavioral treatment programs, acting as liason with 
community organizations and providing follow-up services for discharged 

In retrospect, I am aware of the fact that along with the altruistic goals 
of providing desperately needed psychological services at the Institute, 
there were agenda items of my own. I strove for financial security, good 
evaluations and recognition from my colleagues. Obviously these all were 
common and legitimate goals when kept in proper perspective with 
larger issues. I justified my strivings by telling myself that all of us need 
the respect of our colleagues, and that I deserved to be secure after years 
of study. I took pride in being able to make accurate and comprehensive 
diagnostic assessments on which effective treatment plans were based, 
but I sometimes lost sight of precisely how profoundly the disabilities 
of my patients affected them emotionally and would change their lives. 
and of how my professional persona insulated me from their pain and 
protected me from gaining insight into my own. 

About a year ago an incident occurred and caused me to reprioritize 
some of my well established notions about the infallibility of my 
profession's diagnostic procedures. I also caught a glimpse of the power 
of the human spirit and the identity of my professional persona. A 
patient, whom Fll call Sarah,was diagnosed by neuropsychodiagnostic 
testing and found to be aphasic, intellectually deficient and unable to speak. 
One day Sarah was sitting near another less neurologically damaged 
patient who was gradually falling out of her chair. Sarah, the supposedly 
non-communicative patient, began calling out and frantically moving 
her arms as she pointed to her fellow patient who was about to fall. 
According to neuropsychodiagnostic evaluation and therapeutic labels, 
Sarah should not have been able to generate verbal or symbolic 
communications. Sarah's behavior forced me to reevaluate the validity 
of neuropsychological tests and the potentialities of the non-communicative 
patient. Sarah was more aware than I of the important event going on 
in her world, and she solved the problem (a problem I thought to be too 
difficult or even impossible in the light of her limitations). Exactly whose 
awareness was limited? Certainly not hers! 

Why had she not communicated before? Had it been that our 
diagnostic test battery failed to provide sufficient motivation to stimulate 
this patient to a level of exertion? Here was a woman who could neither 



feed herself nor speak, but did care enough about her fellow patient that 
she struggled to generate the sound and gestures necessary to gain 
assistance for her friend. Perhaps our tests were not designed well enough 
to fully ascertain the limitations of her abilities. Maybe she did not 
bother to make sure the psychologist received valid answers on his tests. 
Possibly she was able to help her friend because she was operating on 
a different level of consciousness that our tests could not measure. 
Perhaps we failed to consider the power of the human spirit. I learned 
from Sarah that because of, and often in spite of our own fragility, we 
psychologists have the capacity to care for others in the midst of their 

What has just been said thus far has not been said to discredit the results 
of our neuropsychological evaluations. Rather, it has been said to 
emphasize the fact that those results are therapeutic aids for treating the 
neurologically impaired, not boards and nails with which to build 
barriers for them. We must not allow our evaluations and labels to 
impede our inner sensitivity and insulate us from their pains. Sarah and 
patients like her have helped me heighten my level of awareness of my 
own patience, anger, fears, failures and transience. I am becoming aware 
of how these issues cause me to function. 

I left the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and assumed the Director- 
ship of Psychiatric and Psychological services at the Joliet Correctional 
Center in Joliet, Illinois in the Spring of 1984. I am often astounded at 
the terrific pace with which new critical incidents come in this 
maximum security prison setting. While at the Institute, I was convinced 
that those who had lost the full use of their minds and limbs suffered 
most profoundly. However, since leaving the Institute and coming to the 
prison setting, I have had to rethink my position. I have grown to realize 
that able-bodied, young men are also suffering tremendously, but in a 
different dimension. There is a deeper pain felt by the inmate. His 
suffering is to the point where he feels acute despair, hopelessness and 
may feel suicide is his only relief. Our free society continues to offer 
those with legitimate physical disabilities its love and empathetic 
concern. Those individuals in the free society still receive the benefits 
and support offered by their community; prisoners sense this and have 
great difficulty in accepting the realization that a six-by-eight foot cell 
is their home, and thirty-five foot stone walls are the perimeters of their 

I am gratefiil to my patients at the Institute for their work on me as 
we journeyed along the same pathway. It is the lessons I learned there 
that are lighting my journey at the Joliet Correctional Center. 


The Experience of Gary Greer 

I began my journey as a Prison Chaplain shortly after graduation from 
Ashland Theological Seminary in the Spring of 1980. Seminary had been 
a time of spiritual and intellectual challenge. It was now time to put feet 
to the theological precepts and principles of counseling I received at ATS 
and Emerge Counseling Center. My journey has taken me behind the 
stone walls and iron gates of two different maximum security prisons. 
I have had many new experiences and several critical incidents that have 
provided me with the opportunities to confront myself, change and grow. 

One such incident occured the first year of my chaplaincy service. 
An inmate, whom I'll call George, had been brought to the prison's 
emergency room unconscious with severe trama to his head and face. 
The doctors and nurses were able to stabilize the inmate's condition and 
he was transferred by ambulance to a community hospital trauma center. 
Later that same evening I drove to the hospital and made my way to 
George's bedside in the intensive care unit. He lay unconscious in the 
bed and the monitor screen indicated he had no brain activity whatsoever. 
As I stood quietly, the officer who was guarding the inmate looked up 
from his magazine and said, "What's the matter Rev? He's only a 
convict. It's better him than one of us." The callousness of the officer's 
remark had a tremendous impact on me. I can remember the helpless- 
ness I felt as I stood there and contemplated the fragility of the ember 
of life. It was during those few moments that I became aware of my own 
vulnerability, transience and loneliness. 

An inmate's death, the death of a parishoner, or loved one, represents 
to all of humankind a note of finality. Even Christ wept at the tomb of 
Lazarus inspite of the fact that he knew he would raise Lazarus. It 
is often as we catch a glimpse of our own fragility that we receive 
inspiration to question the purposes and goals of our own lives. We can 
often use the awareness of our transience to motivate us to a new level 
of urgency concerning the execution of our task regardless of our station 
in life. All of us, especially professionals, must reprioritize the order of 
things, activities and dreams in our lives from time to time. It is ironic 
how unimportant some things become when they are reevaluated in the 
light of the eternal. 

Another important lesson I learned through this critical incident is that 
ministry must be translated from the philosophical, academic and 
theological, into concrete, practical, flesh and blood issues of real life. 
It is not enough to have memorized creeds, Greek vocabulary and 
psychological theory. The real task is to touch people, whether they are 
inmates, patients or parishoners, where they hurt. All people helpers, 
whether clergyman, physician or psycologist, have been called to flesh 



out the words of Isaiah when he wrote, "It is our task to bring the good 
news to the poor; to heal the broken hearted, to preach dehverance to 
the captives, and recovering of sight to the bUnd, to set a hberty to those 
that are bruised." 

Since we are all fragile, we can allow ourselves the luxury of being 
aware that we share the joys, hopes, sorrows and failures of life with our 
fellow men. It is only when barriers and defenses fade, when divisions 
and differences disappear, that we can communicate freely. We 
discovered that there are few significant differences between a 
psychologist and an aphasic or the chaplain and an inmate. We are all 
vulnerable. We are all transitory. The powerful human spirit is resident 
in all of us. It is a beautiful lesson to learn that there is little in life that 
is static. We are all pilgrims in progress. Time changes people. 
Circumstances change and events occur in our lives or the lives of those 
we love and are concerned about that profoundly affect us. Catastrophic 
accidents, financial reverses and serious illnesses all put us in touch with 
our own transience. The awareness of our own transience is a powerful 
tool for the student, minister and psychologist to relate to clients, who 
are struggling with their own morality, disability or perceived personal 
imperfections. It is only as we lay hold of our own transience that we 
can empathize and help the struggling client and challenge him to grow. 
It is the vulnerable self in all of us that must learn to become more 
comfortable with the fact we do not have all the answers to the bigger 
questions of life and death and faith. 

The Critical Incident and Ministry 

Dr. Jain's journey as a psychologist and mine as a chaplain has brought 
us to the place where we must touch the root of the inmate's suffering. 
Our challenge is to have unconditional positive regard for the prisoners 
despite their criminal histories. We have both felt and seen the divine 
potential in each of these men in spite of the fact that many of them have 
been convicted of heinous crimes against their fellow human beings. 

Our interactions with people like Sarah and George have caused us to 
examine other significant issues as well. We often come fece to face with 
someone we do not always recognize at first. That someone is our 
professional personas. The Psychiatric Dictionary gives the following 
Jungian definition of the persona: 

Persona (per-so'-na) With this term Jung denotes the disguised 
or masked attitude assumed by a person, in contrast to the 
more deeply rooted personality components. "Through his 
more or less-complete identification with the attitude of the 
moment he at least deceives others, and also often himself. 


as to his real character. He puts on a mask, which he knows 

corresponds with his conscious intentions, while it also meets 

with the requirements and opinions of his environment, so that 

first one motive then the other is in the ascendant. This mask, 

viz. the ad hoc adopted attitude, I have called the persona, 

which was the designation given to the mask work by actors 

of antiquity. A man who is identified with this mask I would 

call "personal" (as opposed to "individual"). 

A most helpful benefit of the critical incident for the student minister, 

or layman, is to present him with the opportunity to meet his own 

persona. For some students it is the first time they might have been 

aware they were even wearing a mask. For others it may be the rare 

opportunity for them to take their mask off, if only for a moment, 

and gain perhaps the painful awareness of what it is like to not have it 

to hide behind. 

Another benefit is for the student to realize as he counsels, ministers 
or preaches that he must encounter not only the persona of others, but 
the vulnerable selves of others which lie beneath their masks. It is here 
to the vulnerable real self that the Holy Spirit will make His impact, 
often using us through clinically proficient ministry. Often critical 
incidents expose our own quest for material security and pseudo-security 
of the praise from our colleagues. I believe no one summarized more 
effecdvely the futility of collecting things that we think will make us more 
secure than the scriptures that tell us not to store up for yourselves 
treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break 
in and steal (Matthew 6:19). The scriptures also speak quite succincdy 
about our overestimating the value of our own intellectual pursuits and 
struggling to be secure. The scripture again tells us, we are all like the 
grass of the field. Today we sprout, grow tall and flourish. As the noon 
day sun rises, we become dried and parched. Tomorrow we shall be 
gathered together in bundles and used for fuel in the oven (Luke 12:28). 
Our individual lives are temporary in the scheme of the universe. We 
are transient. The security of wealth, health, recognition, even life itself 
is so fragile and almost vaporous. We are all more vulnerable than we 
want to admit. 

The Potential 

There is an ember of eternal potentiality that glows in the breast of 
every member of the human family. Those of us who interact with others 
in an effort to effect change or growth in them, must realize that we are 
accompanying our fellow humans on their journey through life. We must 
constantly be mindful as we encounter others that we are touching much 


more than mere organisms. Wayne Oates addressed the issue by saying, 
"Even though we are strangers and pilgrims in an idolatrous world, we 
are members of the commonwealth of those who care. Out of this caring 
relationship comes a feeling of ability and a feeling of single-hearted 
devotion, valuing ourselves as we are valued by God and those to whom 
we are profoundly related."'" 

The clergyman and psychologist will only become comfortable with 
his or her own humaness when they can see and touch that same 
humaness in others. Christ himself is able to touch the humaness in us 
because the humaness of the incarnate Christ struggled with the rigors 
of life and death. The purpose of the Kenosis was to robe God with flesh 
so that He could be understood by men as well as provide grace for them. 
He still choses to reveal His love to mankind through the Christ in us. 
Christ laughed with the merry and wept with the crushed. We should 
do no less. 

There are tew significant differences between any of us. We are all 
transitory. The ember of eternal potential is in each of us. The work of 
grace is equally necessary for us all. The infinite strives to be the friend 
to each of us. 


C.G. Jung. "Psychological Types." Tlie Psxchiatric Dictionai-y (New 
York: Harcourt, 1923). " 
'Wayne Oates, Vie Psxcholo^x of Religion (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 



Theology of Missions 

By Samuel Hugh Moffett 

There was a time when nobody had to give lectures about the theology 
of the world Christian mission. A Christian did not feel the need to 
re-examine the theological foundation of world outreach for Jesus Christ. 
They did not need to ask why they had missionaries. They did not even 
ask very often what missionaries had to do — were supposed to do. It 
was axiomatic; it was simple; it was dangerous; and above all. it was 
overwhelmingly urgent. It was as simple as the command of Jesus Christ, 
and as urgent as life and death for millions upon millions who are dying 
without Christ. Every second saw more souls slipping into a Christless 
eternity. No one had ever given them a chance. No one had ever told 
them that they could live forever — in Christ. And faced with a chal- 
lenge as simple as that, the Christian church exploded into what has been 
called the "modern missionary movement.'* It could be almost described 
as a race against time and against the devil for the greatest of all prizes, 
the eternal salvation of the human soul. That's the classic, perhaps the 
most familiar, theology of missions. It's a Salvationist theology. 

Now if you are expecting me to ridicule that challenge, you are going 
to be disappointed, because it has never seemed ridiculous to me. In fact, 
it was basically that challenge that turned me into a missionary. I wanted 
to be a professor of classical Greek; and my father had often told me 
that if you could be anything except a missionary or a minister, be it. 
It's not that he did not want me to be a missionary. I knew that. He did 
not want me to be a missionary for the wrong reason, that is. just 
because he was a missionary. My mother was a classicist, and so I majored 
in classical Greek. I wanted to be a professor of that fine subject. 

And then the chairman of the board of Princeton Theological 
Seminary (in the 1940s) stood up in chapel one day. His name was 
Robert E. Speer. And he gave one illustration that I could not get out 
of my mind. He took off his wristwatch and he held it up. and he told 
those seminary students, including me, "Your watch could tick for nine 
and one-half years without numbering the lost souls in China alone." Nine 
and a half years! A tick for each soul. Somehow I could not get that out 
of my mind, and I became a missionary to China. 

I'm not going to ridicule that challenge — it still means the basic 
mission of the church to me. But you know as well as I that there came 
a day of the shaking of the foundation. The old urgencies were denied, 
or at least ignored. No one seemed sure of anything eternal anymore. 
So in a great deal of the world's missionary thinking, the challenge 


changed. The Jerusalem Conference of the International Missionar 
Council in 1928 put it this way: "Our fathers were impressed wit 
horror that men should die without Christ. We are equally impressed wit 
horror that they should live without Christ." 

I think most of those who accepted that statement were nc 
considering it a denial of the old urgencies, but some of them were. And 
at least, it was a change of emphasis. My father was a delegate to the 
conference, and I can remember him coming back shaking his head. H 
was not quite sure about theological underpinnings. He had been i 
Edinburgh in 1910, and he came away from that exhilarated. Jerusaler 
left him a little shaken. 

It was, I suppose, a strategic withdrawal to what was considered 
firmer ground. You may be able to deny — at least you can not prov 
to an unbeliever — that millions are dying into eternity without Chrisi 
But, no one can deny that millions upon millions are living in miser 
and in filth and in hunger. No one can deny that. No one has ever give 
them a chance. No one has ever helped them to the life abundant the 
Jesus came to give. This was a challenge to a future not in the unknow 
beyond or outside of history. It was a challenge to a hopeful future i 
history. A future without hunger, and without hate; without sickness an 
without tears; where all men are brothers and all women sisters; and th 
nations shall study war no more, and justice shall roll down as the river 
roll into the sea. 

So the church went forth to build the kingdom. That is the second 
the more modern, theology of missions — the theology of the Kingdom 
In its most popular form, in Latin America, it has emerged with som 
changes as a theology of liberation — liberation from all the injustice 
of life in this world. 

Now, I am not going to ridicule that view either. It has never seemei 
ridiculous to me to feed the hungry, and to heal the sick, and to wor' 
for peace and against injustice and oppression. But, again, you know a 
well as I that the paralysis of doubt has struck again. The foundation shook 
the roof fell in; the revolutions did not accomplish all they were supposei 
to accomplish. Human promises are not even as safe as God's promise 
to unbelievers. The unbelievers are beginning not to believe in their owi 
revolutions (in addition to beginning to have their doubts about God) 
And this has happened within what too many had believed was th 
Kingdom — Christendom, the West. Here is the Kingdom of God. W 
build it here; we spread it around the world. And we have lost that kin( 
of confidence, thank heaven. The Kingdom refused to stay built, and thi 
builders of the Kingdom began to lose hope. 

You see, the problem of our time in a theology of missions is tha 


neither pattern seems to be able to win a complete consensus within the 
church. We tend to move either in one direction or the other with our 
theology of missions. The savers of souls; the builders of the Kingdom. 
Now theologically, I think we have to begin by admitting that we do not 
save souls. The Salvationist theology does not rest upon our efforts — 
it rests primarily and fundamentally in the grace of God. But, so also 
with the building of the Kingdom. No matter how well-intentioned your 
motives are, as you vote for one man or the other for president, neither 
one of them is going to build the Kingdom. You will have to take a lesser 
choice, and you will have to get back to theology, not political science. 
In fact, today, it is the older theology of mission that is picking up 
strength again — the classical theology of salvation — rather than the 
newer "kingdom" theology of mainline churches like mine (if you have 
to separate them). 

It is the salvation theology that for the last twenty years has been the 
basic driving power behind contemporary world mission outreach. 
Contrary to popular church opinion, the number of overseas mission- 
aries sent from North America across the world is not declining. It 
continues to leap upward. In five years, from 1975 to 1979, overseas 
missionary personnel from North America, calculated on a year of 
service per person basis, so that you could include both short termers 
and career missionaries, shot up from about 35,000 to 53,000 in just five 
years, an increase of almost 50 percent. That means that the North 
American missionary force is actually growing year after year at an average 
rate three times that of the United States' population. That is the good news. 

The bad news comes from my side of the American church scene — 
the mainline denominational side. The bad news is that none of this 
dramatic explosion in contemporary North American missions can be 
credited to the mainline churches as denominations (the larger ones). The 
increase is mainly outside the so-called religious establishment. David 
Stowe who was with me in China, a Congregationalist, a United Church 
of Christ executive of the United Church's Board for World Missions, 
and very much mainline, reported just three years ago three things: First, 
the traditional missionary sending system is stronger than ever. Second, 
the foreign missionary force in North America is at an all-time high. Third, 
the center of gravity of Protestant missionary sending is shifting 
constantly away from the ecumenical agencies toward conservative and 
fundamentalist ones. That is David Stowe's report. 

And when I look at the stunning percentages of decline in overseas 
career missionaries in the major denominations, I have to report figures 
like this: Episcopal Church — 79 percent decline between 1972 and 1979. 
79 percent decline in seven years! My own church, U.P.C. , at that time 



it was U.P.C.S.A., United Presbyterian Church, 72 percent decline. United 
Church of Christ — 66 percent. Methodist — 46 percent. By contrast, 
here are some statistics from churches outside the National Council: 
Southern Baptist, plus 88 percent. Assemblies of God, plus 49 percent. 

Well, actually in basic theological motivation and purpose, there may 
not be much difference between the savers of souls and the builders of 
the Kingdom. It is their theological substructures that seem to be so 
different. Basically both are operating on the principle of love. I will 
give credit to those who differ from me — their intentions are good. One 
is a concentration on love for individuals and concern for each human 
being's eternal welfare; the other is more generalized — love for all 
humanity, a concern for its present well-being. But, if you will forgive 
me, I am beginning to question how far one should go in making "love" 
the theological motive of the Christian Mission. 

I know that sounds heretical, but was "love" the motive of the original 
mission of the church of Jesus Christ? On both sides, I think, of this 
missiological divide between the so-called liberals and the so-called 
conservatives, there has arisen a questioning about the absolute 
foundation. A search for a deeper, theological base for mission, a 
mission based not on love for individuals, not on our love of the church, 
not even on our love for all humanity in this disordered world, but a mission 
based squarely on God's love, not ours. Some have called this a new 
missionary theology. They have given it the name "missio dei" 
theology, the theology of the mission of God — the trinitarian God. 

Unfortuniately, it is hard to pin it down. It has produced so many 
contradictory interpretations that "missio dei" is virtually useless as a 
defining term. To some it means that mission is God-at-work-in-the-world- 
independent-of-the-church as in the other world religions. God at work 
in Hinduism; God at work in Buddhism; God at work in Islam. "Missio 
dei". Now that was not the idea of the one who coined that term, but 
it is partly true. The Christian need never be afraid or surprised to find 
the true, the good and the beautiful in other religions. 

My father was a strict, old-school Presbyterian, very orthodox. He had 
a small statue of Buddha in his study. I often wondered how a man as 
orthodox as my father could carry around a heathen god. And he used 
it in an object lesson to Korean Christians — pastors who would come 
in and be equally shocked. And father would say, "Well it is beautiful, 
though, isn't it? And you really should be proud of everything in your 
own wonderful, national culture if you can remember that this is not a 
god. And if you do not give the impression that you are worshipping this 
as a god. If you can accept it as a beautiful piece of art, you do not need 
to be afraid of it. Remember the weaker brother. Sometimes people 


misunderstand. Make very clear that they do, that this is not Jesus Christ, 
and Buddha is not the savior." But there is beauty; there is goodness; 
sometimes there is even truth in the other higher rehgions. Don't be afraid 
of that. Sometimes you can use it as a bridge if you are careful. 

But any form of "missio dei" theology which bypasses the incarnate 
Son, the Savior Jesus Christ for other names, however good, however 
true, however beautiful they may be, runs the frightful risk of demoniz- 
ing what is good and true and beautiful, which was, of course, the 
original sin. Remember, the demonization of the tree of the knowledge 
of good and evil. It is still good and evil, but it can be demonized. 

George Vicedom has a book simply called Missia: The Mission of God 
(Missio Dei). He was the first to popularize the term, and he recognized 
this danger. He warned that we cannot minimize the power of evil even 
in the higher religions — power which can turn everything base into light 
and pervert everything good. That is why he writes, "Jesus understood 
the Lordship of God and the purpose of his sending to be this: that the 
works of the devil must be destroyed. And the prince of this world must 
be judged." "To this," said George Vicedom, "we must cling even at the 
risk of being fundamental istic." 

And he was no fundamentalist. His own interpretation of "missio dei" 
theology, which was the interpretation endorsed at a very important 
missionary consultation in 1952, is not a multi-religious mission. It was 
rather God's mission through Jesus Christ and the church. It appreciates 
truth wherever truth is found, but its mission centers in the truth as 
revealed in the One who said, "I am the Truth." Put very simply, this 
would say that the Christians' world mission is to break through any 
barrier that separates any part of the world from Jesus Christ and to tell 
the good news about Him to anyone who will listen in any possible way 
that they can understand. Any possible way they can understand! It is 
Christ-centered, but it begins with the love of God the Father, not your 
love for the perishing heathen. 

Of course, love is fundamental. It was love that started the mission. 
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. that 
whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 
It began with love. But that was the love of God the Father, and the 
missionary was God the Son. What is the missionary's motive? Can we 
find one in the Son? I am treading on dangerous theological ground when 
I begin separating the persons of the Trinity, but do it as an exercise, 
not as final truth. 

I am not prepared to deny that it was love that brought Christ into the 
world on his mission of reconciliation. However, it may be worth noting 
that the Bible does not say so. It is full of His love for the world. His 
compassion that knows no bounds. But where are we told that He came 


to the world because He loved it? Insofar as the Bible does distinguish 
between the Son and the Father in reference to mission, it tells us, it seems 
to me, that the Father founds the mission because He loves; the Son goes 
on the mission because He is sent. There is a difference. The motive 
of the Son, the missionary, is obedience. Look at the glimpse that Paul 
gives us into the mind of Christ before His mission. Philippians. The 
lesson is not love. The lesson is humility and obedience, even unto the 
death at the cross. He loves the world, of course, but He goes because 
He is sent. He loves the whole world, but He goes to the Jews because 
He is sent. That is the only explanation He gives of the apparent 
narrowness of His mission. "Fm not sent, but to the lost sheep in 
Israel." He loves the world enough to die for it, but He goes to the cross 
because He is sent. ("Not my will, but Thine be done.") It seems to me 
that the compelling, insistent motive of mission — a going mission — 
is obedience. God is love, but it was Christ's obedience that forged and 
focused and incarnated that love into a mission. 

Now, is not the lesson pretty much the same when we turn to the 
apostles, the first missionaries of the church. Was it love for a despised 
and rejected race that sent Philip to the Ethiopian? Not according to the 
record. "The angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, 'Arise and go."' And 
he obeyed and he went. Was it love that sent Peter to the proud and the 
unclean? To Gentiles like us? Not according to the record. "The Spirit 
said unto him. Arise and go"' and he went. Was it a passion for millions 
of lost Gentile souls, dying without hope, that first made Paul a 
missionary. Separate me Barnabas and Paul, says the Spirit, and 
obedience sent him almost reluctantly from his beloved Jews to the 
Gentiles. "The Lord commanded me saying, I have set thee to be a light 
of the Gentiles." 

In the strange new world of the Bible, apostles and missionaries are 
made not just by looking at the world with compassion and love, but by 
listening to God in obedience. Now, do not misunderstand me. If you 
obey without love, you are not much of a Christian missionary. The 
missionary goes in love, but goes because he or she obeys. And 
here is where we begin to ask how do we know clearly enough to obey 
so simply? 

Well, the first theological lesson in obedience is to make very sure that 
you are obeying God and not man. That you can say, "the Lord is 
sending me, the Spirit has spoken to me." And that is not a lesson I can 
teach you from theology. That is a lesson you will have to learn in your 
own deepening Christian experience. And that is the only basis you will 
have for mission as a missionary of God in Christ. We are simply not 
sent into the world to save souls — the Spirit saves souls. We are simply 


not sent into the world to revolutionize society — the Kingdom of God 
comes not by men, but by the return of Jesus Christ. 

There is one problem that you will have. How is it that when you go, 
people will not see you as obeying God or even responding in love? Most 
people will see you (if you respond to this call in obedience and in love) 
with skepticism, with antagonism. You will go out in obedience, you will 
go out to proclaim your love, and people will not necessarily believe you 
or follow you. Why should they? I am wondering if there is not another 
final lesson in obedience that we particularly here in the West must learn. 
I heard a young pastor years ago speak of the story of doubting Thomas. 
Why did the disciple insist on seeing the print of the nails? Why did he 
thrust his hand into the wound in the side? It was more than simply to 
identify the risen Lord, the pastor suggested. He said Thomas wanted 
to be sure that the Lord who was asking him to follow was indeed the 
same Lord who had suffered for him. Only then did he follow. And 
perhaps our trouble is that most of the world no longer identifies us with 
the cross of Jesus Christ. To most of the world, the symbol of the 
Western missionary — face this! — is not even the saver of souls or builder 
of the Kingdom. It is unjust, but to most of the world, the symbol of 
the Christian missionary is a soft, white, rich American. And why should 
the people follow that? 

Do not misunderstand me. We are not asked to suffer. It is our Lord's 
suffering that we exemplify. But how can we ask the world to follow us 
to Jesus Christ until we are ready ourselves to follow Him? And He still 
says, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take 
up his cross and follow me." And what have I really denied myself to 
be a missionary? I have had my problems. My father had more than I. 
But what real cross do I bear? It is an amazing war of theological 
assurance that the missionary engages in. We have confidence; we 
believe. But that rings true only in the obedience that we show the 
world to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is the mission of God: 
obedience to God; the following of Jesus Christ; and the listening and 
the empowering — our listening and His empowering — the Holy Spirit, 
that is ultimately the foundation of any missionary theology. 


God Is Love 

by Virgil Meyer 

Scripture: I John 4:7-21 

Text: "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (I John 4:8) 

In his letter, John points out many truths to the Christians to whor 
he is writing. We have found that he has taught them many things aboi 
God. That God is Light, He is Spirit, He is eternal. He is Father. Bi 
perhaps the most clear picture he gives of God is that God is Love. Kee 
in mind that this is the disciple who called himself, "the one whor 
Jesus loves," and who wrote the account of Jesus' life on earth in th 
fourth gospel, the gospel of John. He penned those words that all of u 
know — "For God so loved the world . . ." 

The word "love"" is probably one of the hardest working words in th 
English language. The dictionary I consulted had about ten differer 
definitions for it, and it was followed by sixteen entry words — a 
variant forms of the word "love." 

We use the word in so many ways. For instance I say, "I love chocolate 
covered peanuts. I love this weather, I love my family. I love my wife 
I love God."" In each instance the word "love"" carries its own meaning 
It surely does not mean the same thing, the same degree of intensity whe 
I use it to express my feelings about chocolate peanuts as when I us 
it to express my feelings for my wife. 

As we examined this passage of Scripture we see that love has it 
origin in God. In verse 7 we read, "Love comes from God. Everyon 
who loves has been born of God and knows God.'" It is from God wh^ 
is love that all love takes its source. A.D. Brooke says, "Human love i 
a reflection of something in the divine nature. We are never nearer t 
God than when we love. Man is made in the image and likeness of God 
Since God is love, for us to be like God. we must also love." 

We see, too, that love has a double relationship. In verse 8 we read 
"Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love. Lov 
comes from God and love leads to God." 

It is by God that love is known. In verse 12 we read, "No one ha 
ever seen God; but if we love each other, God lives in us and his lov 
is made complete in us." 

We cannot see God for He is spirit; what we can see is His effect 
We cannot see the wind, but we can see what it can do. We cannot se 
electricity, but we well know the effect it produces. The effect of Go( 
is love. When we know God and accept Him, we are loved. And becaus 


we are loved, we love. This love flows through us and has an effect on 
others. Then we reach out to others. This love has an effect. It has been 
said that "a saint is a person in whom Christ lives." We have examples 
of that in our own time. Such people as Corrie Ten Boom, Mother 
Theresa and Albert Schweitzer certainly fit this definition of a saint. 

And we can often see this kind of love in action around us. Last spring 
tornadoes wreaked havoc in northeastern Ohio. Homes and businesses 
were swept away. Three days later three busloads of workers from the 
Amish and Mennonite communities arrived on the scene to help. They 
worked tirelessly as long as they were needed. This is an example of how 
love reaches out to meet a need. This love that we have from God can 
be shown to others by the effect it produces. 

God's love is demonstrated in Jesus Christ. In verse 9 we read, "This 
is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son 
into the world that we might live through Him." 

When we look at Jesus we see two things about the love of God. First, 
it is a love that holds nothing back. God was prepared to give his only 
Son. Recently, I heard a Sunday School teacher make this statement, "In 
our human experience there is no grief to compare with the grief that 
is felt at the loss of a child." God sent His "one and only Son into the 
world." This was the supreme sacrifice for His love for men. 

Secondly, this love of God as demonstrated by Jesus is a totally 
undeserved love. There is nothing that we can do to earn it. It is given 
freely. Probably in our human life ii can only be compared to the love 
of parents for their newborn child — a child who has done nothing to 
merit it and who in no way as yet can return it. When our daughter and 
her husband brought their new baby home from the hospital, they sat 
on the front steps with the baby in his carrier between them. They were 
overwhelmed by the realization that he was theirs — that when they 
carried him through the door, because of their great love for that new 
little being, life would never be the same. As our daughter put it, "we 
couldn't give him back." He was theirs to care for and nurture and love. 

So it is with God. He loves us so much that He gives us everything 
we need, even His only Son. 

And this human love we feel is a response to divine love. Verse 19 says, 
"We love because He first loved us. Our love is a reflection or an image 
of God's love. Dr. George Buttrick has expressed this in the following: 
If God had kept the whole heaven between us and him, if 
always he had been only ultimate Truth, like snow on some 
inaccessible mountain, how would we know him to be "good"? 
Or if he had come near as an angel, how could we have 
worshipped? What do angels know about human tears and 


laughter? If the name is Jesus, we can account for the love 
in us, for our love might then be the broken image of his love. 

When love comes, fear goes. Verses 17 and 18: "Love is made 
complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of 
judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. 
But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 
The man who fears is not made perfect in love." 

Fear is the characteristic emotion of someone who expects to be 
punished. So long as we regard God as the Judge, the King, the 
lawgiver, there can be nothing in our heart but fear. From such a God 
we could expect nothing but punishment. But when we know God's true 
nature, fear is swallowed up in love. We can have confidence in the day 
of judgment, whether at the Great White Throne or now. 

There was a man whose life was one of great influence on others. He 
had gone through much suffering and betrayal, and had been tested right 
down to the core. But a few months before his death, he wrote: "When 
I look back upon the seventy years of my own life, I see quite clearly 
that I owe my present inner happiness, my peace, my confidence and 
my joy to one fact: I am certain that I am infinitely loved by God." If 
we know this truth, the only fear that remains is the fear of grieving his 
love for us. Perhaps this is what Paul meant when he said, "The love 
of God constraineth us." 

Finally, the love of God and the love of man are connected. In 
verse 7 of this passage John says, "Let us love one another, for love comes 
from God." In verse 11, "Dear friends, since God so loved us. we also 
ought to love one another." In verse 20, "We love because he first loved 
us." And in verse 21, "Whoever loves God must also love his brother." 
As C.H. Dodd puts it: "The energy of love discharges itself along lines 
which form a triangle, whose points are God, self and neighbor." 

If God loves us, we are bound to love each other. John says, with 
almost crude bluntness, that a man who claims to love God and hates 
his brother is nothing other than a liar. The only way to prove that we 
love God is to love the men whom God loves. The only way to prove 
that God is within our hearts is to constantly show the love of men 
within our lives. 

A king asked his three daughters how much they loved him. Two of 
them replied that they loved him more than all the gold and silver in the 
world. The third and youngest said, "I love you better than salt." The 
king was not especially elated with her remark and dismissed it lightly 
as an indication of her immaturity. But the cook, overhearing the 
conversation, left salt out of the king's breakfast the next morning. He 
then understood the deep meaning of his daughter's remark, "I love you 


so much that nothing is good without you." 

The love of God which flows from God to us to others is as salt to 
food. No relationship is good without it. 


LiBXAR'f '^' ^ 

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Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio Spring 1987 


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This issue of the Journal is as diverse as is our Seminary itself. Includ- 
ed you will find both practical and theological articles, both homiletical 
and scholarly discussions. The first article is in fact the transcript of 
Dr. Ernest Boyer's commencement address of last year which is reproduc- 
ed here by popular request. Following this Dr. Mary Ellen Drushal pro- 
vides an insightful and scholarly look at management techniques and 
how they may be used in the Church. This article should also be of real 
help for our readers involved in pastoral work. The third item in the 
Journal is a brief essay by the editor on the question which increasingly 
confronts various Churches - how should we react to the modern plea 
for inclusive language? Dr. O. Kenneth Walther has provided us with 
an address he gave in chapel in the fall of 1986 on Acts 26.29. This in 
turn is followed by a series of historical articles of a more popular nature 
on Methodist Camp Meetings and Circuit Riders which hopefully will 
be both informative and somewhat entertaining. The aforementioned ar- 
ticles along with the two articles that follow by Kevin Miller and then 
by a variety of Evangelical writers are in fact reprinted here by permis- 
sion because of their timely and useful content. Kevin Miller introduces 
us to the pitfalls of using fund raising consultants in the Church, and 
the final article in the Journal reviews American Evangelicalism in the 
past thirty or so years. Finally, we are pleased to announce a new sec- 
tion has been added to our Journal as of this issue - a book review sec- 
tion. Though very brief in this issue we hope to expand it considerably 
in forthcoming editions of the Journal. It is our hope that this material 
will both enlighten and enliven those who read this material as we seek 
to serve Jesus Christ together. 

Dr. Ben Witherington, editor 
Epiphany 1987 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 


Spring 1987 


A Little Lower Than The Angelts 
Dr. E.L. Boyer 

Motivational Components of Theory Z 

Dr. M.E. Drushal 

Lingua Frankly — Inclusive and Personal 
Dr. B. Witherington III 

The Last Word 

Dr. O.K. Walther 

Circuit Riders & Camp Meetings 
Dr. B. Witherington III 

Fund-Raising Consultants 
K.A. Miller 

Looking Back At The Forces and Faces 
Of American Evangelicalism 
Dr. D. Wells et al 

Book Reviews 71 

Editorial Committee: 

Ben Witherington III, Editor 
David W Baker 
William H. Myers 

—Volume XVIII No. 2 

PubMshed by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 


Dr. Ernest L. Boyer 



The Carnegie Foundation for 

the Advancement of Teaching 

An Address Given For The 

1986 Commencement 

of Ashland Theological Seminary 

First, I wish to congratulate the Class of 1986. 

I congratulate you for choosing Ashland Theological Seminary and 
for completing, with success, your academic program. 

Many years ago, I decided that commencement speeches are the least 
remembered utterances on earth. This fact was painfully driven home 
one day after I had delivered what I thought was a most effective speech. 
At the very end a graduate met me on the lawn and said my speech was 
so moving he had actually been inspired to write a poem. I was, of course, 
deeply touched until I had read his creative and inspired poem. The young 
man had written: 

I love a finished speaker. 

I mean I really do. 

I don't mean one who's polished, 

I just mean one who's through. 

Rather than run the risk of being humiliated once again, I've decided 
that this morning I'm not going to give a speech at all. Rather, as a 
substitute, I'd like to give the graduates a kind of "pop quiz" before 
you are handed your diplomas. And incidentally, the rest of you may 
take the test as well. 

I have just one examination question to submit. I'd like to ask the 
graduates, if during your seminary days you have begun to understand 
the sacredness of language? J 

Language is the centerpiece of this examination. ■ 

My grandfather, who lived to be 100 years, was a minister of the gospel, 
and he preached for 40 years. As a boy I used to hear grandpa's ser- 
mons two times on Sunday and at two prayer meetings every week. Grand- 
pa loved to read the Psalms and frequently he quoted that poetic passage 
which reads: "Man is a little lower than the angels, higher than the rest." 
In my boyish fantasy I saw it spatially with God, the angels, and men 
and women on the planet Earth. 

As I became older I learned a deeper meaning. We are, "a little lower 
than the angels, a little higher than the rest." We ho'd a special position 
among all of God's creations - in our soul, in our intellect, and also 
in our use of symbols. 

Language is a God-given "miracle." Language is imprinted on the 
genes. The use of symbols defines who we are and gives dignity and 
meaning to our lives. 

Lewis Thomas, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center 
in New York City, said it all when he wrote that "childhood is for 

Language begins without a teacher. It is a lesson learned from God. 

What sets us apart from all other creatures on God's earth, I believe. 

is our capacity effectively to use symbols to capture feelings, nuances, 
and ideas. This begins not only before the child goes off to school - 
my wife, who is a certified nurse-midwife, insists that language begins 
in utero as the unborn infant monitors the mother's voice. I think, in 
fact, there are data to support that brash assertion. We do know that 
if you hold your ears and speak you can monitor your own voice through 
the tissue vibrations of your body. And the child in utero can, I'm con- 
vinced, monitor the messages of the mother through the fluid that sur- 
rounds it. We also know that the child in utero has a startled reflex to 
loud noises in the world outside and we also know that the three middle 
earbones, the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup are the only human 
bones that are fully formed at birth. 

So I happen to believe my wife is right, as she always is. But for the 
skeptics here this morning let me say that language certainly begins with 
the first breath of birth, first with gurgles and then phonemes that are 
crudely formed and then with utterances that we call words and then 
sentences that convey subtle shades of meaning. Now that I'm a grand- 
pa and can observe this process more objectively, uncluttered by dirty 
diapers and burpings late at night, I'm absolutely in awe of a miracle 
that we take for granted. Exponentially it expands during the first months 
and years, and to see a little one in the early moments of his or her 
life begin to shape and form ideas, to me, is the greatest miracle on earth. 

Language has a power all its own. It can build and it can tear down 
as well. 

Sticks and stones, can break my bones, 
but names will never hurt me. 

I'm suggesting that it is language, not just the soul, that gives us a 
divine place in the universe and makes us a little lower than the angels. 
And as you serve your fellow human beings you have a sacred obliga- 
tion to urge Christians to speak and listen carefully to God, but also 
to consider the sacredness of language - the God-given gift. 

The early Quakers would risk imprisonment and even death because 
in a court of law they would refuse to swear to tell the truth, the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. It's not just that they 
were against swearing - which they were. Their main problem was that 
by swearing to tell the truth in a court of law they were somehow sug- 
gesting that truth was optional in the world outside. Truth, the early 
Quakers argued, is something that should be assumed, not something 
that occurs only on a stack of bibles. 

The sacredness of language means speaking the truth, but it also means 
listening as well. Sometimes we can even minister through silence. We 
live in a world where noise is the norm and we are uncomfortable with 

silence. And yet it is the silent spaces that gives meaning to our words. 

I've visited Japan on several occasions and been fortunate to see some 
of the majestic gardens there. I like most the ones where there's a large 
space, filled with nothing but finely raked gravel and in the middle is 
a magnficent rock, positioned beautifully in the center. The rock becomes 
a work of beauty because it's surrounded by the silence of the spaces. 
Cluttered, it would go unnoticed. In the beauty of the island of the space 
that's been provided it becomes something to be honored and enjoyed. 
So it is with words and ideas, too. I say two cheers for silence, which 
is a means of communication in reverse. 

What I'm suggesting is that preparing to minister to others means the 
discovery of the sacredness of language - the God-given miracle of words. 
It means a recognition of the need to speak the truth to one another and 
to listen carefully, as well. This is the ministry of love. It is the key to 
breeding community in your congregation. 

Wayne Booth, of the University of Chicago, wrote on one occasion 
that all too often our efforts to speak and listen seem to be vicious cycles, 
moving downward. But Booth went on the say that: "We have all ex- 
perienced moments when the spiral moved upward, when one party's 
effort to listen and speak just a little bit better produced a similar response, 
making it possible to try a bit harder - and on up the spiral to moments 
of genuine understanding." 

I'm suggesting that through language we are a little lower than the 
angels. And during your ministry it is your sacred obligation to help 
people listen carefully to each other. I also hope that during your seminary 
days you have learned the importance of listening, not just to familiar 
voices, but to cultures other than our own, and to speak your own theory 
and teaching. 

I must tell you that I'm deeply troubled by the harsh, bellicose language 
in our world today that builds hatred, rather than human understanding. 

I do not believe that any of God's creatures, no matter how unloving, 
should be called a mad or raving dog. 

I'm also troubled by the parochialism of the coming generation. 

Last year. The Carnegie Foundation surveyed 5,000 college students. 
Over 20 percent of the students surveyed said they had nothing in com- 
mon with people in underdeveloped countries, 30 percent said they were 
not interested in non-western studies, and in our survey of community 
college students, 40 percent could not locate either Iran or El Salvador 
on a map. 

I'm deeply concerned that our education is becoming more parochial 
at the very moment the human agenda is more global. 

I'm suggesting, in our dangerous, interdependent world it is urgently 

important that we learn to listen carefully to others. And those who enter 
missions have a special obligation - not just to speak, but to listen, too. 

Several years ago my wife and I flew from JFK airport in New York 
to Central America. Traveling to a Mayan village we had traveled a thou- 
sand years and a thousand miles. We were visiting our son and his Mayan 
wife. We spent the evening around an open fire with our new in-laws. 
I must tell you that during some moments adjusting to that sharp transi- 
tion I wondered if we had anything in common. What does JFK airport 
have in common with a Mayan village. But as the embers died I discovered 
we could communicate with one another, nonverbally in large measure, 
but verbally as well. We could talk about community since the Mayan 
villagers have laws and mores and traditions of structure I, too, 
understood. We could share the beauty of the arts since the Mayan arts 
have been with us for a millenium or more. We could recall the past 
- a human characteristic that we assume no other species on God's earth 
can share - because the Mayans were here a thousand years. We could 
talk about our relationship with nature because the Mayans live very 
close to earth and know their dependence on the planet. We could talk 
about our work, since people all around the globe are engaged in con- 
suming and producing. This was not a foreign land. I discovered another 
human being with an agenda similar to my own. 

Now, it's true the format had its difference to be sure. Take work. 
My son's father-in-law could explain to me how he walked off into the 
fields each day and slashed and burned and grew crops and brought them 
home. It took about an hour to explain how I ran to airports carrying 
paper from place to place. As he said, "You call that work?" At the 
most fundamental level we could share our human joys and sorrows, 
the points at which all humans live. 

Can the Christian church bring reconciliation in our country and around 
the world through our sacred use of language? 

I have one final observation. 

In America today, it is urgently important that we communicate more 
effectively. And during your ministry I hope that you will listen to the 
sacredness of language. In many of the countries where you will serve, 
the children will be the neglected generation. 

During our study of the American high school I became deeply troubled 
by the malaise among the students. 

I was troubled that it is possible for teenagers in America to finish 
high school yet never be asked to participate responsibly in life, never 
be encouraged to spend time with older people, never help a child who 
hasn't learned to read, or even to help cleanup litter on the street. Time 
and time again, we heard stories about young people feeling unneeded 
and unconnected. 

One student told us that she had a job working at McDonald's. "It's 
not very exciting, but at least Tm feeling useful." 

It's a sad comment that feeling needed is pushing Big Macs. 

I was also troubled by the generation gap we found in high schools 
between the old and the young, and by the sense that we are no longer 
dependent on each other. 

My parents are retired in Messiah Village. The average age is 80 in 
that community. My father, who is 87, said almost sullenly a few weeks 
ago, "It's not a big deal to be 80 here." He sort of felt unhonored, like 
Mr. Dangerfield. No respect. But the beauty of that place is that they 
also have a day care center there. Fifty 4 and 5 year olds come trucking 
up each morning, and to add to the excitement the children have an 
adopted grandparent. They may go in the morning to greet the older 
person. I think there is something powerful and beautiful about a four- 
year-old who starts the day by seeing the courage and agony and the 
determination of someone who is in the sunset of his life. And I think 
there is something beautiful about an 80-year-old who begins the day 
by being greeted by a four-year-old who's bright and innocent and filled 
with vigor for the future. Such connections are vital if the world is to 
become a healthy place. 

In the Carnegie Report we make a very brash proposal. We propose 
that during their four high school years students volunteer to tutor younger 
students, to work in the library or in hospitals, museums, nursing homes, 
day care centers, synagogues or churches. Students could meet the ser- 
vice requirement evenings, during the summer or on weekends. 

During one interview I talked to a big six-footer, sixteen years old 
who said: "Yes, last summer I volunteered in the emergency ward at 
the local hospital." He said in the evening they brought in a three-year 
old who had meningitis and the next morning she was dead. Then he 
looked at me with skepticism and said, as only a grownup can do, "Do 
you know what it's like to see a little kid die?" He was strong enough, 
informed enough, emotionally sensitive enough to challenge me on my 
terms. What he was really saying was, "Have you grown up and do you 
know what life is like?" I think for teenagers to begin to understand the 
realities of living is part of learning, too. 

I believe a service term for all students is appropriate for college 
students, too - to help them see connections between the classroom and 
the needs of people. 

Vachel Lindsay wrote on one occasion that 

It's the world's one crime - its babes grow dull 
Not that they starve but starve so dreamlessly 
Not that they sow, but that they seldom reap. 

Not that they serve, but have no God to serve 
Not that they die, but that they die like sheep. 

I beHeve our young people should know the tragedy of life is not death, 
he tragedy is to die with commitments undefined, with convictions 
indeclared, and with service unfilled. 

That completes the examination. Pass your papers to the center aisle. 

Have you, during your seminary days, begun to understand the 
acredness of language? Have you learned to communicate with God? 
^nd then to communicate, not just with fellow collegians, but also to 
peak and listen to other cultures and to a sad, needy world? The 
acredness of language means learning to listen not just to ourselves, 
)ut to others, too. 

Thank you very much. 

motivational components 

Of Theory z Management: 

An Integrative Review Of Research 

And implications for The Church 

By Dr. M.E. Drushal 


Motivation is a pervasive theme in organizations. In this paper, major 
research studies in motivation are highlighted and the characteristics of three 
management theories are delineated, but the principles of Theory Z are of par- 
ticular interest. Ouchi (1981), Pascale and Athos (1981), and Peters and Water- 
man (1982) studied both Japanese and American corporations which utilize 
Theory Z management. They found common characteristics among these cor- 
porations that could have implications for management in the church 

Four components of Theory Z management philosophy - leadership, trust, 
communication, and participative decision making - are examined. The research 
literature is studied to offer scientific support for the efficacy of utilizing these 
identified components within the church organization. 

In any organization, people are involved; leaders emerge; decisions are made; 
and products or services result. In the church organization, the motivation and 
management of people is of paramount concern. The results of the research 
cited are clear and if integration of these principles were to occur, the church's 
hierarchical structure would be altered, creating a participative community in 


Church organizations frequendy squander the full potential of human 
resources available to them because they appear to lack understanding, direc- 
tion or vision, and fail to utilize creatively research findings from the social 
sciences. A similar dilemma can be found in the business community. The 
inability of manufacturing organizations to channel properly the energies of 
the workforce has resulted in the failure of American industry to keep pace 
with Japanese competitors in manufacturing technological products e.g.. 
automobile, camera, television, electronics, and computers. 

At the close of World War II, Japanese industry was nearly destroyed. 
American industrial advisors assisted the Japanese in restructuring their business 
communities (Lambert, 1982). The Japanese proved to be apt pupils who learn- 
ed their lessons well, as their industrial recovery has been remarkable. In- 

deed. Japanese "productivity has increased at five times the rate of U.S. gains 
since World War II and is growing at a faster rate each year" (Feverberg, 
1981. p. 3). 

How could the Japanese achieve this industrial coup? One plausible explana- 
tion lies in their management philosophy, which has come to be known as 
Theory Z in this country. Alternately, their industrial advances could be ex- 
plained by specific cultural components of their society (e.g., the social rank- 
ing of people and professions as well as the centrality of religious belief in 
Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism [Herzberg, 1984]). An additional contributor 
to their industrial coup could be the large government subsidies that their ma- 
jor export industries have enjoyed. It is likely that all three factors coalesced 
to produce Japan's recognized leadership among industrialized nations. 

American industry cannot imitate Japan's culture, nor is it likely to persuade 
Congress to enact industrial subsidies. Theory Z management philosophy, 
however, contains several components that have been adopted in many 
American corporations. I propose that the church organization has much to 
learn from the industrial community - both Japanese and American - and should 
possibly implement some portions of Theory Z principles into its managment 

The purpose of this paper is to examine theories concerning the motivation 
of workers. Motivational components of Theory Z management philosophy 
e.g., leadership, trust, communication, and participative decision making, are 
of particular interest. Through a brief review of the literature, recent research 
evidence supporting the efficacy of these components in Theory Z will be ex- 
amined for their implications in management of the church organization. 
Drucker (1985) suggests that 

management is not restricted to business management, but is central to 

every institution of society. . .and there are very few, and mostly minor 

differences between managing a business, diocese, hospital, university, 

research lab, labor union, or government agency (p. 8 — E). 

Like Drucker, I believe that managing a church is similar to managing a 

business. Therefore, a synthesis of Theory Z management principles and social 

science research results will be provided with reference to the implications 

for management within a church setting. 

Organizations of all types exist to survive and thrive. Evidence of growth 
in businesses can be determined by an expanded profit margin that results in 
dividends for the stockholders. The church, however, must maintain atten- 
dance and contribution records to quantify its growth, as its primary product 
is people. How the organization and its people interact can produce growth, 
maintenance, or decline. Thompson (1967) observes that 

the relationship between an organization and its task environment is essen- 
tially one of exchange, and unless the organization is judged by those 
in contact with it as offering something desirable, it will not receive the 
inputs necessary for survival, (p. 28) 
If business or a church is to survive and grow, then the workforce (employed 
or volunteer) must experience an exchange of monetary resources, values, and 


All types of organizations must provide a climate of exchange for their con- 
stituents if growth is to occur. Peters and Waterman (1982) contend that part 
of the motivation for growth stems from the workers' sense of contributing 
to and helping others. (This may be a primary source of motivation or com- 
mitment for workers in the church.) They also report that "researchers study- 
ing motivation find that the prime factor is simply the self-perception among 
motivated subjects that they are in fact doing well" (p. 58). Peters and Water- 
man (1982) describe the management teams of some significant American cor- 
porations (e.g., IBM, Hewlitt Packard, Proctor & Gamble, Delta Airlines) 
that understand exchange principles and know how to produce perceptions of 
success among workers. Their findings, in addition to those of Ouchi (1981) 
and Pascale and Athos (1981) - even though focused on very different cor- 
porate structures - point to similar theoretical principles for effectiveness, suc- 
cess, and excellence (e.g., respect for people, their ideas and contributions 
to the work environment) and should receive the attention of the student of 

The trite phrase "people are our most important product" remains prevalent 
in these successful workplaces. Peters and Waterman (1982) assert that in Japan, 
"treating people - not money, machines, or minds - as the natural resource 
may be the key to it all. Kenichi Ohmae, head of McKinsey's Tokyo office, 
says that in Japan, organizations and people (in the organizations) are 
synonymous" (p. 39). For the Japanese, workers are the corporation and their 
productivity causes the organization to succeed. This reality forms a concen- 
tric cycle for organizational growth. The value placed on workers may be the 
pivotal issue that separates excellent organizations from mediocre ones, and 
valuing workers then becomes a motivational issue that affects the well-being 
of both the organization and the individual. 

The church faces the same motivational issues. The relationship among 
motivation. Theory Z management principles, and recent research findings 
will be explored in this paper and implications for integration of these prin- 
ciples in the church organization will be suggested. 

Motivation: The Art Of Management Science 

The primary goal of any organization is continued existence. Regardless of 
the nature of the organization - school, business, government, or non-profit 
agency - longevity is sought, and growth (increased profits, giving, and/or 
attendance, etc.) is desired. Decisions are made by people affecting growth, 
longevity, and motivation. 

While organizations seek longevity and growth, most every worker wants 
to perform on a "winning team," which for Peters and Waterman (1982) is 
synonymous with success in the marketplace. One might query, "does suc- 
cess breed motivation in the workplace or does high motivation enable suc- 
cess?" At least two prime research foci appear for the student of organiza- 
tions: (1) motivation theories as expressed in theories of management, and 


(2) the research support for motivational components of Theory Z manage- 
ment e.g., leadership, trust, communication, and participative decision making. 
Motivation of workers is a central issue in the management process (Hersey 
& Blanchard, 1982). Hoy and Miskel (1982) categorize theories of motiva- 
tion into two realms - content and process approaches. Content approaches 
specify "only what motivates behavior. . .specific needs, motives, expectan- 
cies, and antecedents to behavior, or [as] they relate behavior to outcomes 
or consequences" (p. 139). Process approaches "attempt to define major 
variables that are necessary to explain choice, effort, and the persistence of 
certain behavior. They attempt to specify how the major variables interact to 
influence outcomes, such as work effort and job satisfaction" (p. 155). Both 
of these perceptions contribute to a climate for motivation in the workplace. 

Content Approaches to Motivation 

Motivation is more complex and pervasive than is addressed in this paper, 
but it is a central theme in Theory Z management. Hoy and Miskel (1982) 
define motivafion as "the complex forces, drives, needs, and tension states, 
or other mechanisms that start and maintain voluntary activity directed toward 
the achievement of personal goals" (p. 137). The manner in which an employee 
is motivated within the organization will affect job performance (Lippitt, 1948) 
and employee satisfaction (Mann, Indik, & Vroom, 1963), and will ultimate- 
ly benefit or inhibit organizational objectives. 

Maslow's (1943) hierarchy of human needs is also relevant to an understan- 
ding of motivation. It "assumes a hierarchy of human motives ranging from 
biological needs through security, love, and belongingness, to ego needs of 
self-esteem, self-development, and self actualization" (Katz & Kahn, 1978, 
p. 398), and suggests that lower level needs must be met before higher level 
needs can emerge. For example, as an individual matures and receives the 
salary increases to provide a reasonable standard of living, other needs, such 
as affirmation and new responsibilities may become important. Based on this 
premise, Herzberg (1959) began to study job attitudes, or satisfacfion and 
dissatisfaction, and the resultant human behaviors. He interviewed over two 
hundred professional people in eleven industries in the Pittsburg area and 
developed what is known as the two-factor theory or the motivation-hygiene 

Hygiene factors are those things about the work environment that must be 
maintained at a reasonable level so the employee will not become dissatisfied 
with the workplace. The motivators are identifiable qualities that produce 
perceptions of professional growth to the employee. Figure 1 lists variables 
included in the two factors: 


(The Job Itself) (Environment) 

Achievement Policies and 
Recognition for administration 

accomplishment Supervision 

Increased responsibility Interpersonal relations 

Growth and development Money, status, security 

Figure 1. Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory. 
(Hersey & Blanchard, 1982, p. 58). 

Herzberg's theory predicts that a climate conducive to motivation in the 
workplace will increase the productivity of the employee. With higher out- 
put, the worker becomes more productive and satisfied and thus, a more 
motivated worker. But Drucker (1954) disagrees. He believes that satisfac- 
tion is inadequate as a motivator. He states that "responsibility - not satisfac- 
tion - is the only thing that will serve to adequately spur an individual to self- 
motivation" (p. 303). Gellerman (1968) adds his view that "effective motiva- 
tion depends on effective communication" (p. 36). 

Herzberg's findings have been criticized for faulty research design. The use 
of the critical incidents interview and the fact that the subjects (accountants 
and engineers) did not represent a diverse geographical sampling raises ques- 
tions about the generalizability of the findings. However, this was among the 
early attempts to study motivation in the workplace and could therefore be 
considered foundational to subsequent research within organizations. Drucker' s 
and Gellerman's criticisms highlight important contributors to motivation not 
considered by Herzberg but included in Theory Z management: responsibili- 
ty (leadership) and communication. 

Content approaches to motivation assert that each worker has needs, attitudes, 
and work related issues that affect motivation. Theory Z management 
philosophy gives credence to these same issues. The church organization often 
assumes that a worker (volunteer or paid professional staff) has a commit- 
ment to the task that supersedes the implications of these research findings. 
Perhaps this is an erroneous assumption. 

Process Approaches to Motivation 

Process theorists are concerned with variables that initiate or sustain motiva- 
tion within the worker. One such variable is goal setting or decision making. 
Every individual makes choices. Often these are behavioral choices with pur- 
posive intent to effect an outcome. Sometimes choices are unconscious deci- 
sions, but to select one direction over another is nevertheless a choice. The 
establishment of goals, both individually and corporately, involves a decision 
making process. 

Goals represent decisions and choices. Hoy and Miskel (1982) define a goal 
as "what an individual consciously is trying to do" (p. 161). Dornbusch and 


Scott (1975) define a goal as "a conception of a desired end state of an enti- 
ty" (p. 66). Goals can be personal or organizational, but organizational goals 
are derived by individuals, who may or may not be able to accomplish the 
goals that have been established. Drucker (1980) believes that "unless challeng- 
ed, every organization tends to become slack, easy going, diffuse" (p. 41). 
So organizational goals are necessary to maintain a focus on a desired result; 
goals may force evaluation and then analysis of data to produce future goals. 
In Theory Z type organizations, goal setting and evaluation are accomplished 
through "a community of equals who cooperate with one another to reach com- 
mon goals" (Ouchi, 1981, p. 70). Church organizations, however, seldom 
enter into this goal setting and evaluation process. Dayton and Engstrom (1979) 
ask and answer their own question: "Why is it that many Christian organiza- 
tions never get around to expressing their own goals?... fear of failure... and 
the age-old theological tension between the sovereignty of God and the respon- 
sibility of man" (pp. 55-56). Lack of goal setting leaves the church in a manage- 
ment limbo. 

Locke's (1968) goal theory focused on the "relationship between conscious 
goals and intentions and task performance" (p. 157), and is simply a techni- 
que for goal setting. He found that difficult and specific goals constituted a 
greater challenge and therefore required increased effort for achievement. 

Organizational goals represent the decisions of a group of people. Perhaps 
the establishment and/or evaluation of goals can be the challenge that motivates 
individuals to greater achievement. But regardless of the outcome in concrete 
results, an interactive and interpersonal process is utilized to determine and 
achieve organizational goals. Gellerman (1968) reminds us that relationships 
between people and groups in an organization "need to be audited, because 
they can affect the performance and ultimately even the survival of the firm" 
(p. 255). Thus, the group dynamics or interpersonal relationships of a work 
group can, through the behavior of individual participants, achieve or inhibit 
the accomplishment of desired goals. 

These interpersonal relationships are the basis for Heider's attribution theory. 
Heider (1958) and his associates suggest that motivation is a function of in- 
terpersonal relationships that affect the work climate. 

To observe, identify, and describe actual principles of motivation is an elusive 
objective. Gellerman (1968) cautions that the word "motivation is a decep- 
tively brief way of expressing a complex reaction to a complex of influences" 
(p. 34). But motivation is an ever-present reality in the workplace, and it en- 
compasses all facets of societal, organizational, and personal life. 

Studies of motivation must also consider historical change. Parsons (1960) 
observes that in industrial societies, "the essential point at the motivational 
level is the motivation to achievement in occupational roles devoted to pro- 
ductive function" (p. 140). But in this day, as the United States moves from 
an industrial era to an information society as Naisbitt (1982) and Toffler (1980) 
have suggested, the centralized, hierarchial organizational structures (as 
described by Parsons) will no longer be adequate. The information necessary 
to make decisions will be available to all workers; "the computer itself will 


be what actually smashes the hierarchical pyramid" (Naisbitt, 1982, p. 281). 
Naisbitt (1982) says these realities will cause basic changes and development 
in management theories and practices. This phenomenon is currently evident 
as Walton (1985) describes 

. . .a growing number of manufacturing companies has begun to remove 
levels of plant hierarchy, increase manager's spans of control, integrate 
quality and production activities at lower and lower organizational levels, 
combine production and maintenance operations, and open up new career 
opportunities for workers. . . In this new commitment-based approach 
to the work force, jobs are designed to be broader than before, to com- 
bine planning and implementation, and to include efforts to upgrade 
operations, not just maintain them. Individual responsibilities are ex- 
pected to change as conditions change, and organizational units accoun- 
table for performance. With management hierarchies relatively flat and 
differences in status minimized, control and lateral coordination depend 
on shared goals, and expertise, rather than formal position determining 
influence, (p. 79) 
If this is happening in business organizations, perhaps leaders in church 
organizations need to examine their beliefs about workers and attend to alter- 
nate management theories (Schaller, 1980). 

In summary, the theories of motivation presented herein draw upon several 
componenets that influence the managment process: the needs of individual 
workers, the work environment (both tangible and intangible qualities), and 
the interpersonal relationships through which organizational goals are establish- 
ed and achieved. Each of these motivational attributes is manifest in varying 
degrees in theories of management. 

Theories of Managment 

McGregor ( 1 960) reminds us that how we manage people depends upon how 
we view nature and motivation. There are several theories of management and, 
for comparative purposes, the basic assumptions of each need to be understood. 
None of the theories selected for review here is considered to be better than 
the others. Particular situations could occur within the management structure 
that would make each appropriate in a given setting. 

Theory X 

McGregor (1960) refers to Theory X as the traditional view of management. 
This theoiy makes the following assumptions: 

1 . People dislike work 

2. People must be coerced, controlled, and threatened to achieve 

organizational objectives 

3. Workers prefer direction by others in order to avoid personal 

Without question, there may be people in the workforce who fit this descrip- 
tion. Theory X management requires extrinsic manipulation of the worker to 


achieve drganizational goals. But there have been "changes in the population 
at large - in educational level, attitudes and values, motivation, [and] degree 
of dependence. . .'" (McGregor. 1960, p. 43). that have led to another form 
o{' management. 

Theory Y 

Managers who began to acknowledge some of the personal aspects of workers 
found Maslow's (1943) hierarchy of needs to be particularly interesting. As 
a theory of motivation. Maslow suggested that the basic needs of people must 
be met before satisfaction through task completion can be achieved. Basic needs 
include: physiological needs; safety and security; and belongingness. love, and 
social activity. Other needs include: esteem (personal); self-actualization or 
self fulfillment (achievement of potential); aesthetic needs; and the need to 
know and understand. Maslow's work concentrated on meeting the needs of 
the individual. His theory offers considerable information that could be utiliz- 
ed in organizational relationships to make life more satisfying within the work 

The assumptions of Theory Y call for an integration between the needs of 
the individual and the goals of the organization. As these needs and goals are 
combined, the theory suggests that the worker will likely achieve greater 
satisfaction and more personal reward in accomplishment. McGregor (1960) 
outlines the assumptions of Theory Y: 

1 . Work is as natural as play or rest 

2. People exercise self-direction and self-control to reach 

objectives once commitment occurs 

3. The reward and result of commitment to objectives is achievement 

4. People accept and seek responsibility 

5. Workers possess the capacity and creativity to seek solutions 

to organizational problems 

6. Modern industries utilize only a portion of the intellectual 

potential of workers. 
Theory Y thus suggests a model of cooperation among workers and managers 
regardless of status within the corporate structure. Cooperation signifies work- 
ing together but active participation in achieving results calls for another level 
of involvement, or Theory Z. 

Theory Z 

Ouchi (1981) outlines the attributes of Theory Z. Organizations committed 
to this theory focus on: 

1 . Long term employment of workers 

2. A balance between organizational controls - 

explicit (information and accounting systems, formal planning, 
management by objectives) and implicit (internal communication, 
always seeking what is best for the company) 


3. A company philosophy that incorporates a statement of 

purpose or objectives for ways of doing business 

4. Interdependence within organizational life, relying on trust and 
achieving consensus among workers 

5. Participative decision making, providing for broad communication 

among workers at all levels, values within the organization, 
cooperative intent of the firm, development of interpersonal skills 
to facilitate group decisions, developme it of trust, maintenance of 
a strong egalitarian atmosphere. 

6. Self-direction of workers as opposed to hierarchical direction. 

7. Egalitarian atmosphere that implies trust among workers. 

Ouchi (1981) emphasizes Theory Z management's wholistic orientation that 
incorporates the involvement of workers in every facet of the organization. 
I have selected four of the components of Theory Z identified by Ouchi (1981) 
that have a role in motivation and appear to be significant elements for church 
organizations. Leadership, trust, communication, and participative decision 
making have received attention in literature. Theory X, and to some extent, 
Theory Y, represent authoritarian approaches to managmenet that stimulate 
"discontent, frustration, and negative attitudes toward leadership" (Rush, 1983, 
p. 12). And yet church organizations are frequently managed within one of 
these theories (Schaller, 1980). To better understand the productive organiza- 
tional climate fostered by Theory Z, further examination of the literature is 

Motivational Components of Theory Z and Recent Research 1 

What does research say to us about motivational management variables in 
Theory Z as leadership, trust, communication, and participative decision mak- 
ing? Each variable and the literature related thereto will be delineated separately. 


Lester (1981) states "that managers are necessary, leaders are essential" (p. 
868) to conduct the business of any organization. Mintzberg (1973) describes 
managers as "those people formally in charge of organizations or subunits" 
(p. 3), while Sayles (1964) says that a manager is one who "has subordinates 
whom he/she [sic] can direct and over whom he/she [sic] has superior status." 
(p. 142) Those definitions place emphasis on vertical relationships within the 
organization. But leadership is often found in "interpersonal behavior, specifical- 
ly that between the leaders and the led" (Mintzberg, 1973, p. 17). 

Katz and Kahn (1978) describe leadership as the "influential increment" (p. 
528) among people that is derived more from relational factors then from 
organizationally appointed positions. Both leaders and managers function within 
the organization (and one can be the other). "The one quality that more than 
anything else markes a manager is decisiveness, but. . .[leaders] are often not 
decisive; they're intuitive; they have a vision" (Deal & Kennedy, 1982, p. 37). 

Leadership studies. Hersey and Blanchard (1982) combine the views of many 
management writers to define leadership as "the process of influencing the ac- 
tivities of an individual or a group in efforts toward goal achievement in a given 


situation" (p. 83). Lester (1981) further delineates leadership "as the art of in- 
fluencing and directing people in a manner that wins their obedience, con- 
fidence, respect and enthusiastic cooperation in achieving a common objec- 
tive" (p. 868). These definitions offer a classic description of the traditional 
hierarchical organizational structure that exists in American organizations and 
churches, where influencing and directing are key terms. How are people in- 
fluenced in the workplace? Often they are influenced through power exhibited 
by those in leadership positions. 

Power in leadership. Etzioni (1961) observes three kinds of power within 
the organization: coercive, remunerative, and normative: 

Coercive power rests on application, or threat of application, of physical 
sanctions such as infliction of pain, deformity, or death. . .remunerative 
power is based on control over material resources and rewards. . .nor- 
mative power rests on allocation and manipulation of symbolic rewards 
and deprivation through employment of leaders, manipulation of mass 
media, allocation of esteem and prestige symbols. . .(pp. 5-6). 
Organizations that wield coercive power often are institutions of reform such 
as prisons. In organizations characterized by remunerative power, rewards, both 
financial and personal, are used to maintain order within the organization. Nor- 
mative power controls participants through "leadership, rituals, manipulations 
of social prestige symbols, and resocialization" (p. 40). Etzioni (1961), in tact, 
notes explicitly that "religious organizations must rely predominandy on nor- 
mative powers to attain both acceptance of their directives and the means re- 
quired for their operation" (p. 41). Church leadership, then, strives for control 
through direction rather than cooperation. 

In studies of cooperation and consensus among elites (groups with power), 
Etzioni (1961) found that "the degree of cooperation between elites. . .is a deter- 
minant of the level of effectiveness a organization maintains" (p. 94). He defines 
six consensus spheres that function within an organization: general values; 
organizational goals; means, policy, or tactics; participation in the organiza- 
tion; performance obligations; and cognitive perspective. These areas of con- 
sensus provide opportunities for shared power. 

Salanick and Pteffer (1977) define power as "the ability of those who possess 
power to bring about the outcomes they desire" (p. 3). Power in organizations 
usually manifests itself in budgetary allocations, positions in organizational 
hierarchy, and strategic decisions (Pteffer, 1981). Leaders often assert their power 
or influence within subunits or organizations to accomplish personal or group 
goals. If subunits achieve consensus, to which there is group commitment, then 
the subunit achieves additional power within the organization (Pfeffer, 1981). 
Salanick (1977) defines commitment to a group as "a state of being in which 
an individual becomes bound by his/her actions and through these actions to 
beliefs that sustain the activities and his/her own involvement" (p. 62). 

Leaders in Japanese organizations emphasize shared power among workers 
and collective work groups (Lambert, 1982). Conversely, hierarchical organiza- 
tions focus more on power which gives credence to individual achievement 
and direction of subordinates to accomplish goals. 


Stodgill (1974) identifies two types of leadership - participative and direc- 
tive. Participative leaders encourage group or subunit members" involvement 
in discussions, problem solving, and decision making while directive leaders 
expect to play a personal and active role in decisions and believe that group 
members will accept their decisions. Participative leadership has been found 
to be more effective than directive leadership in altering group opinions (Mit 
chell. Smyser, & Weed. 1975). Aspegren (1963) finds participative leadership 
produced higher levels of group satisfaction and task motivation among subunits. 
Stogdill (1974) confirms that "research on organizational change is consistent 
in indicating that followers are more receptive when they participate in plan- 
ning and implementation" (p. 415). 

Theory Z organizations successfully integrate this body of research on leader- 
ship. The leadership is participative and values the information gathering, shar- 
ing, and problem solving of the workers. Participants in collective work groups 
develop a commitment to one another and the organizational task, with the 
end result being satisfaction, productivity, and trust. 

In Theory Z management philosophy, trust involves interpersonal relation- 
ships, interdependence of subsystems, ambiguity, constant exchange and com- 
munication, as well as an understanding of personal values among group 
members (DeMente, 1981). Knowing one is valued as a contributing partici- 
pant of a collective work group breeds a climate for trust within the organiza- 
tion. Sproul (1983) reminds us that 

every human being, from the lowest state of unskilled laborer to the highly 
polished corporate executive, wants to know there is real value in his labor. 
To know your labor counts is to be assured that you count, (p. 203) 
Trust "is the conscious regulation of. . .vulnerability to another person" (Zand, 
1981, p. 38). Trust often ensues when workers share visions, goals, and alter- 
native solutions to a dilemma. The act of delegation exemplifies trust between 
individuals and when advice is sought and given, trust is reinforced (Zand, 1981). 
But, in a competitive, results-oriented, and bottom-line corporate structure, 
trust - which implies cooperation - may be only infrequently present. And yet. 
Paul (1982) writes that "the variables of power, leadership, and trust form an 
intricate, elusive interweaving of influence that effects us all in organizations" 
(p. 538). As people explore the possibilities of participative management, these 
two compatible qualities (trust and cooperation) cannot be ignored. Gibb (1978). 
in a comprehensive study of trust, suggested that Trust Ix^vel Theory (TORI) 
forms the core of personal and organizational growth. TORI is an acronym 
for "trusting our being and processes, opening our lives, realizing or actualiz- 
ing our instrinsic nature and energy, and interdepending or interbeing" (Gibb. 
1978. p. 20). Gibb (1971) finds that 

trust produces trust. People who are trusted tend to trust themselves and 
to trust those in positions of responsibility. Moreover, the feeling that 
one is trusted encourages exploration, diversity, and innovation, for the 
person spends little time and energy trying to prove himself, (p. 86) 
Trust, as described by Gibb, is seldom found in hierarchical organizations. 


In many hierarchical organizations, however, competition (among workers 
and other organizations) is a key concept (Katz & Kahn, 1978). People who 
are competitive (Kelly & Stahelski, 1970) and authoritarian (Deutsch, 1960) 
do not often find themselves cooperating (trusting others) in a group setting. 
Competitive and authoritarian workers, therefore, likely do not build a climate 
of trust within the organization. In Theory Z type organizations, trust among 
co-workers can be an element that assists in decision making and participation 
in the organizational process. Without some degree of trust among group 
members, the achievement of consensus would be unlikely. Without trust, 
respect, or involvement, participative leaders would have no followers. Managers 
view trust as a contribution to participation in decision making that increases 
the likelihood of two-way communication in the work environment (Dickson, 


Communication is a complex phenomenon of interaction. Words, the selec- 
tion of words, tone of voice, and body language, all forge the communication 
composite. The old phrase "communication forms a two-way street" becomes 
an accurate observation as it indicates an initiator and a recipient when com- 
munication occurs. 

Sayles (1964) writes that "organization charts imply that contacts are limited 
primarily to the lines connecting boxes, but the relationships necessary to get 
the job done are much more complex" (p. 34). Berlo (1971) illustrates from 
his research that communication within an organization has both vertical and 
horizontal dimensions, and when communication occurs on both dimensions, 
the people establish a climate for mediation of opinions and ideas. Bums (1954) 
found that managers are in contact with workers 80% of the time, so com- 
munications skills are needed in the workplace. 

Guetzkow and Simon (1955) developed a network of communication called 
all channel communication pattern. In this formation (see Figure 2), any per- 
son has access to all others in the group. 



Figure 2. All channel communication network. 
From H. Guetzkow, & H.A. Simon, The impact of central communica- 
tion nets upon organization and performance in task-oriented groups. 
Management Science, 1955, J^ 233-250. 


This network provides information flow that could incorporate all three direc- 
tions of communication - downward, horizontal, and upward (Katz & Kahn, 
1978, p. 440). McClenahen (1979) reminds us that "truly effective communica- 
tion requires constant exchanges" (p. 75). That is exactly what can occur when 
all channel communication patterns become the operational mode in an 

Although I found no description of communication patterns of Theory Z 
organizations in literature, they might resemble the all channel (Guetzkow & 
Simon, 1955). The fact that recognized leadership in these patterns is not cen- 
tralized could be related to the job satisfaction, high morales and productivity 
found in Theory Z managed organizations. 

Participative Decision Making 

The composite in Theory Z management philosophy of leadership, trust, and 
communication comes to fruition in participative decision making. Decision 
making is frequently a political process which can involve a single individual 
or a group of individuals in a collective manner. Participative decision making 
cannot be viewed as some magic technique that rights all corporate wrongs, 
but its successful utilization among excellent corporations may serve as a model 
for organizations of all types. 

Pascale and Athos (1981) find that the Japanese prefer to invest time and energy 
in building a support for their decisions, because they "recognize that many 
elements of an organization will be more committed to a decision if they take 
part in it" (p. 174). The involvement of a number of people does elongate the 
lead-time necessary in the decision making process. 

Sayles (1964) says that decision making "is a slow process" (p. 217). Mak- 
ing decisions in a participative manner signals group involvement. Collins and 
Guetzkow (1964) describe three factors that assist productivity of group deci- 
sion making: resources, social motivation, and social influence. By combin- 
ing group resources of information and judgements, random error diminishes. 
If an individual is socially motivated, then these motivators (prestige, peer 
pressure, etc.) will not function unless other people are present to observe the 
phenomenon. An individual's social influence within a group increases if his 
or her contribution is supported by evidence, logically presented and consis- 
tent with past experience. 

Participative decision making can be developed in an organization whose 
leadership values input and involvement of its workers, and develops a degree 
of trust through communication. A frequent outcome of participative decision 
making is consensus among the group. This does not mean that consensus results 
without some conflict. Hoffman, Harburg, and Maier (1962) suggest, however, 
that conflict among group members creates a greater number of alternative solu- 
tions to the problem. Effectiveness of the group in decision making can be 
enhanced or inhibited by relationships among the group (Altman & McGinnis, 
1960; Ghiselli & Lodahl, 1958; Haythorn, Couch, Haefher, Langbaum & Carter, 
1956; Schutz, 1955). 

The research on decision making supports the group process in achieving 
consensus. Theory Z type organizations utilize group involvement to share in- 


formation, resources, planning, and problem solving that results in consensus. 
Collins and Guetzkow (1964) found that productivity is enhanced by group deci- 
sion making and certainly the economic growth of Japanese industry is evidence 
of the usefulness of participative decision making. 

In summary, the motivational components of leadership, trust, communica- 
tion, and participative decision making are well represented in the research 
findings. Leaders assert their influence in guiding the organization. Whether 
leaders are directive or participative (Stogdill, 1974) likely contributes to building 
a climate for trust and communication networks. Leaders employ participative 
decision making when they desire input and involvement of their people. These 
motivational components are found in organizations and are implicit in the 

Implications for the Church Organization 

The focus of this paper has been the motivation of workers within the organiza- 
tion to accomplish organizational tasks. Its purpose was to explore the research 
literature on motivation and theories of management affecting the worker and 
to determine implications for the church organization. Components of Theory 
Z management philosophy e.g., leadership, trust, communication, and par- 
ticipative decision making, were of particular interest because of their role in 
the motivation of the worker. Although this paper has focused on Theory Z 
type organizations, this philosophy should not be viewed as a system to be idoliz- 
ed or idealized. Rather, "the Japanese have achieved their current level of 
manufacturing excellence mostly by doing simple things but doing them very 
well and simply improving them" (Hayes, 1981, p. 57). For the church organiza- 
tion, that simple thing in a phrase could become the motto "pursue excellence 
in ministry - attend to people." 

How does the church attend to people - its primary product? People associate 
themselves with a church for a variety of reasons, but a primary purpose for 
many is to have their spiritual needs met. There are indications that people 
do have needs (Maslow, 1943) that a church can meet, but the church organiza- 
tion must realize that spiritual needs cannot be met in a vacuum. Attention 
must be given to all developmental areas (physical, social, emotional, intellec- 
tual, spiritual) if the person is to become self-motivated and/or self-actualized. 
The quality of the environment (both tangible and intangible [Herzberg, 1959]) 
also occupies a role in this process. 

Church leaders might utilize a Theory X (McGregor, 1960) approach to 
management and exert its normative power (Etzioni, 1961) for acceptance of 
its direction. In such cases, controlling people and meeting spiritual needs on- 
ly become the legitimate rationale for ministry, but this may also yield a stunted 
or limited view of the mission of the church. If, however, one holds the belief 
that the mission of the church is broader than just meeting the spiritual needs 
of people and that people can be more than followers, then leaders in the church 
should consider another approach to managing people. 

A Theory Y (McGregor, 1960) approach in attending to or managing people 
fosters an integration of the needs of people and the goals of the organization. 
The assumptions outlined for Theory Y management merge the commitment 


of workers with the goals of leaders to form a climate where cooperation and 
trust can grow. If leaders believe that workers have intellectual capacity to create 
solutions to organizational problems and if they give them the freedom (trust) 
to do so, it is likely that self-direction in problem solving will give rise to com- 
mitment to the task with the end result being the accomplishment of a goal 
through a cooperative effort. Gibb (1981) suggests that trust encourages workers 
to explore and innovate, both of which are qualities essential for workers seek- 
ing avenues of new ministry opportunities within the church. 

If leaders in church organizations have a passion for the pursuit of excellence 
in ministry, however, they cannot be content to merely attend to or manage 
people. Instead, they will participate with them in the process of ministry; they 
will not merely hand down edicts for implementation. Leaders in Theory Z 
type organizations expend countless hours in interaction to determine direc- 
tion for the organization - together. They are participative (Stogdill, 1974) and 
encourage one another in problem solving and decision making. Throughout 
this managerial process, workers are respected, valued and trusted. Participa- 
tion in the decision making process requires a communication flow that will 
simultaneously solve the problem and achieve high morale (Bavelas, 1962; Guet- 
zkow & Simon, 1955; Leavitt, 1969). The research literature describes com- 
munication patterns that result in problem solving and high morale, but cau- 
tions that more time is required in the accomplishment of the task. The church 
organization should examine its priorities in communication and select ap- 
propriate patterns for communication. 

Decisions made participatively require time, group involvement (communica- 
tion), trust (cooperation), and an egalitarian atmosphere among workers to 
achieve consensus. Consensus may not be achieved without conflict, but the 
ensuing discussion will often produce alternate solutions for the problem (Hoff- 
man, Harburg & Maier, 1962). 

In summary, the church organization has at least three options in attending 
to or managing its people - control (Theory X), cooperation (Theory Y), or 
participation (Theory Z). The managerial choice should be a conscious deci- 
sion based upon views of motivation and human nature (McGregor, 1960). 

The church organization is generally hierarchical with the power for deci- 
sion making resting at the apex (Gangel, 1970). The research literature examined 
in this paper supports the efficacy of participative management (Theory Z) and 
the development of trust and communication as a result of these relationships. 
The leadership in the church should consider the personal and organizational 
objectives that could be accomplished by adopting a participative approach to 
management. The resultant organizational structure would more equitably 
disperse responsibilities in the church and would consequently contribute to 
shared power in the decision making. This would increase a commitment-based 
approach to the motivation of workers and result in accomplishment of the mis- 
sion of the church. Adoption of this concept, however, would likely create signifi- 
cant change in the structure of most church organizations. 

One can only speculate what might emerge if churches adopted a participative 
management philosophy. Perhaps, as Walton (1985) suggests, the organizational 



pyramid might be flattened with the result being more workers and fewer spec- 
tators in the church decision making processes. If the church is to accomplish 
its mission - evangelizing, ministering, meeting people's needs - people must 
be managed and motivated to pursue the task. 


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LINGUA Frankly-Inclusive And Personal 

by Dr. Ben Witherington 

The discussion of the importance of language has in recent years 
become something of a cause celebre in numerous academic disciplines. 
When we consider the attention now given in philosophy to linguistic 
analysis, or the continued detailed discussions in biblical studies on the 
'semantics of biblical language' (as James Barr puts it), or the insistence 
amongst experts in civil law of the need to better define terms, or the 
now aging dictum of Marshall McLuhan that the 'medium is the message', 
it is easy to see the pre-occupation with words and their meanings, at 
least in scholarly circles. This concern, however, is by no means con- 
fined to the ivory tower, as the various churches of America have 
discovered, because we are now also in the midst of revising prayer- 
books, lectionaries, Bible translations, hymns and statements of faith. 
There is obviously profound interest in what sort of flesh the Word and 
the words of the Christian faith ought to be wearing. 

Obviously one of the major stimuli to this reevaluation has been the 
feminist movement within the church, and so in the context of the church 
the discussion has largely centered on the use of gender specific language 
both of human beings and of God. This ongoing discussion has been 
a helpful one and largely a healthy one as words, of course, only have 
meaning in contexts, and it is ever needful to re-express the truth once 
given in new ways so that modern people may both hear and heed it 
in their own context. Since various churches now have new lectionaries 
that are the product of such reflection, it would be useful to do some 
theological stock-taking on this whole matter, before we also have various 
new hymnals and Bible translations. 

I remember a conversation I once had with Dr. Bruce Metzger at 
Princeton, then chairman of the RSV translation committee. He stress- 
ed, as I remember, the need to avoid rewriting history, but at the same 
time the need for inclusive language in the human discussion. For Metz- 
ger this meant that while the RSV would be in the business of using 
terms like humanity, or people instead of mankind, to translate words 
that were intended to be gender inclusive, he would not sanction any 
translation of references to the deity, or to Jesus or even to humans that 
did not reflect what the original author intended to say. In short, there 
was to be no translation that was not faithful to the intent of the author 
- however patriarchal his own language might be. Behind this view their 
seemed to be the axioms that a) to de-sexualize the language was to 


denude it of some of its personal content; and b) to change the language 
amounted to an attempt to change the concepts the author meant to con- 
vey (however misguided some might think him to be). This amounted 
to an attempt to rewrite or even censor history. It did not merely amount 
to an attempt to translate biblical ideas into good modern English, so 
that those ideas might be heard and considered. It is entirely possible 
that I have read more into my conversation with Dr. Metzger than it 
warranted, and if so I and not he should be faulted for any errors in 
the explanation above. However, if what has been said has any merit, 
then it leads to some important conclusions. 

Firstly in regard to the matter of sexual language, several important 
things need to be asked. Is it necessarily the case that the use of sexual 
language to refer to deity or humanity is necessarily sexist (by which 
1 mean showing sexual prejudice or bias)? This question I address 
especially to those who insist that we must use language such as creator, 
redeemer, sustainer, rather than Father, Son, Spirit, or chairperson rather 
than chairman or chairwoman. Is the problem here with the use of gender 
language altogether, or rather the use of exclusively male gender language 
to refer to deity and humanity? If it is the latter then the problem is not 
with sexual language per se. 

To pursue this a bit further, does not the failure to use sexual language 
of humanity or deity tend to depersonalize that language? Yet one would 
think that it is crucial that biblical people convey the message that God 
is a personal being, as we are. If there is anyone who should be oppos- 
ed to the depersonalization of our world, it surely ought to be those who 
profess allegiance to a biblical heritage. What does it mean to be created 
in the image of God (both male and female equally so) if it does not 
at least entail the capacity for deeply personal relationships of love both 
with our God and with each other? I suspect that at the root of some 
of the drive for depersonalized language in religious contexts is a faulty 
theological anthropology. 

By this I mean, it seems to be assumed that sexuality is not an essen- 
tial and significant part of our personhood. To put it another way, it is 
assumed that humanity can be defined adequately quite apart from its 
sexuality. I suspect that this is an overreaction to gender stereotyping, 
and as such needs to be brought back in line with a more biblical view 
of human sexuality, and also of human beings as psychosomatic wholes. 
Whether we are happy with the fact or not, we are not persons apart 
from our sexual identity because our sexual makeup is part of that identity. 
It does not follow from this that there must be some rigid stereotyping 
of roles. But there must be respect for, expression of, and not denial 
of our sexual makeup. The equality of men and women in Christ does 


not lie in the fact that they are exactly the same in all regards, but that 
they are equally created in God's image. If there is anything to be deduced 
from the Genesis stories about male and female it is that they are equal 
to but not exact duplicates of one another. The complementary nature 
of male and female is, of course, most evident in the area of sexual shar- 
ing, and any attempt to belittle or deny this inherently complementary 
structure to human sexuality will lead not to a more egalitarian view 
of marriage, but to a trivializing of any such egalitarian view. People 
who are equals can accept each other's differences and even appreciate 
them. The balancing act that we must be engaged in is neither to slight 
the equality in all that means (equality in marriage, ministry, work) nor 
to deny the differences. 

This task must also be reflected in our use of language in Church con- 
texts. If a woman chairs a committee then by all means let her be called 
a chairwoman - not a chairperson. Similarly with a man. Again, if we 
are translating a Bible verse, or writing Sunday school literature, or even 
praying a prayer when we refer to a mixed group of men and women, 
let us call them humanity, or human beings, not mankind. Inclusive 
language should entail the avoidance of gender specific language when 
we do not have a gender specific group. Surely this is simply a matter 
of fairness, and should be implied in any commitment to inclusive 
language. But a commitment to fairness and inclusive language does not 
need to entail a commitment to depersonalized language. I fear that the 
use of depersonalized language in religious contexts will only continue 
to trivialize the importance of human sexuality for human personality, 
and in the end will do no service to the cause of true equality in all 
the spheres that men and women both rightly belong - whether in ministry, 
or in marriage, or elsewhere. 

This leads me to a few reflections on the use of inclusive and per- 
sonal language of the deity or the Christ. Here the same concerns ap- 
ply. Sexual language is the most personal language we have to speak 
of human personalities. Certainly it is the position of the Christian faith 
that God is the ultimate person - from whom all persons and personhood 
comes. It would be a mistake to use language of God that suggests that 
the Deity is somehow less than personal. Whether one calls God Father 
or Mother or both, any of these options are infinitely more personal 
and therefore more preferable than Creator, Sustainer, etc. God is 
supremely to be identified as a person, not merely as a fulfiller of some 
role (whether it be creating, redeeming, etc.). His personhood logically 
and theologically precedes his activity. The often maintained objection 
that using sexual language of God may be dangerous and lead people 
to think of God as a sexual being (a male or female specifically) seems 


to me to be based on an unwarranted fear. I can think of no one who 
as an adult actually concludes God is a male simply because Jesus taught 
us to call him Abba, Father. 

Some scholars at this point have wanted to add certain reservations 
about calling God Mother, not because they are sexists, but for serious 
theological reasons. There is, for instance, the fact that, at least accor- 
ding to Christian tradition in the birth narratives, Jesus had an earthly 
mother but no earthly father. Because of this many have argued that 
it may even be inappropriate to call God Mother precisely because it 
would have been both inappropriate and misleading for Jesus to do so. 
It might also amount to a trivialization of the role of one of the most 
important of female figures in the Bible - Mary. Not only because of 
concerns about ecumenical relations, if Mary's role is neglected or 
dismissed, but also because Jesus gave us a precedent of modeling our 
prayer life on his and calling God Abba, many who are commited to 
inclusive and personal language (such as myself) have demurred from 
breaking with 2,000 years of Church practice at this point. It seems 
there is more to be lost than gained by such a break. In regard to call- 
ing the Holy Spirit a she, there seems to be no theological reason why 
this could not be done and be theologically proper. Some, however, 
have been hesitant on this point precisely because one of the early and 
heretical misperceptions about the Trinity was that it involved God the 
Father, Jesus the Son, and a Heavenly mother. The concept of a Holy 
Family in heaven, and thus tri-theism, not monotheism, was a charge 
Christians had to defend themselves against at various points. 

Finally there is the matter of how Jesus is referred to. Some are ob- 
jecting to calling him Lord, or at least calling God Lord. Jesus was in 
fact a male. His humanity was real and included masculine gender. For 
this reason alone there should be no hesitation to use such language of 
Jesus. Unless one holds to some sort of docetic Christology, that sug- 
gests that Jesus was not truly human, or truly male, there should be 
no problem with the use of such language of the Son. Using it of God, 
however, is a different matter. For those who object to the use of gender 
language of God altogether, this usage will also be found unacceptable. 
However, if in principle one has no problems with the use of gender 
language of God (whether male or female) the term Lord should not 
cause difficulties, anymore than King or other gender terms. 

It appears then that Shakespeare was not quite right when he suggested 
that a rose by any other name would still be the same rose, at least when 
we were talking about transcendent realities. Precisely because God is 
invisible and not subject to empirical analysis like a rose, there is always 
a danger of our recreating the Deity in our own image. This is equally 


a danger for those who oppose or favor the use of gender language of 
God. It is my hope that as we put together new hymnals, and lectionaries, 
and translations, we will heed some of Metzger's warnings and not try 
to rewrite history, or depersonalize God. Our lingua frankly matters - 
if we would be faithful to the concepts and persons that lie behind biblical 
language. The cause of the full equality of male and female should en- 
tail the use of inclusive language but does not need to depersonalize the 
Deity, or desexualize humanity in the process. After all it is creation 
and creature which are being renewed and redeemed, (not replaced with 
some terrium quid) by the work of Christ. 



by Dr. O. Kenneth Walther 

Paul replied: "Short time or long - 1 pray God that not on- 
ly you but all who are listening to me today may become what 
I am, except for these chains." 

Acts 26:29 

This verse constitutes Paul's last recorded words spoken in Palestine. 
Here is his final hearing before Herod Agrippa II and Festus. Paul makes 
hiis last stand before being sent off to Rome. He addresses those in the 
iudience hall of ancient Casearea and his audience of readers today with 
i most intriguing climactic sentence: "Short time or long - I pray to 
God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become 
what I am, except for these chains." 

As it stands, this final statement is a remarkable example of enthusiastic 
Christian zeal and genuine Christian courtesy. There is nothing abrasive, 
wer-zealous, obnoxious or repugnant here. Despite his unjust imprison- 
nent for two long years at Caesarea, and surely after receiving some 
:ruel physical as well as mental abuse by corrupt Felix, he finishes his 
final speech of self-defense with a personal invitation to Herod Agrippa 
ind others present at the court appearance to soberly reflect on both 
lis life and his words. One can only suspect that this earnest, yet tact- 
ful, plea made by the apostle induced Herod Agrippa to take yet a se- 
:ond look at the sincerity and commitment of the prisoner standing before 

Just as the audience with the king and the other nobles had begun 
A'ith Paul lifting one manacled hand to gain their attention. Acts 26:1, 
kve ought to picture Paul here raising the same hand at the conclusion 
if this imperial interview. The intriguing question is: Why does he here 
nention his chains which earlier he had already displayed openly and 
which must have been obvious to everyone present? And what does Paul 
mean by the final phrase "except for these chains?" 

I shall try to provide three brief suggestions, offer a personal illustra- 
ion and give three key words on which to hang the three suggestions. 
Paul's chains are at once restrictive, redundant, and yet redemptive. The 
:hains are referred to by Paul must have a special significance. The Greek 
vord desmos meaning chain or bond appears eighteen times in the New 
Festament. Thirteen of these eighteen appearances may be directly at- 
ributed to Paul. For Paul this is an undeniably crucial word. 

But let us look at the first suggestion for the special signficancc o\' 
le word "chains" here in Paul's last recorded statement in Palestine. 


First, "except for these chains" might mean, and here I am admittedly 
paraphrasing Paul: "Well, thank goodness these chains are not your lot, 

King Agrippa, or yours too, Festus. For I am not able to move about, 
but you are!" 

Read this way Paul's last words may have initially surprised the hearers. 
For surely Paul recognized the apparent incongruity of appealing to King 
Agrippa and the others present to experience spiritual freedom - a real 
theological liberation, where there is neither Greek or Jew, slave or free, 
male or female, while he himself stood conspicuously in chains before 

For Paul chains were restrictive and limiting. Could it be that Paul 
would wish no hurdle or handicap to be placed in the king's path to keep 
him from joyously discovering for himself the experience of faith in the 
Lord of the universe - the Saviour of mankind - Jesus Christ? Do you 
remember that first flush of faith when you first believed? No one - 
nothing could distract you. You knew; you believed; you trusted; your 
faith walk commenced at that very moment. Later there would be hurdles 
and hazards and handicaps. But there is no place for them when faith 
is first fresh and green and rooting. Could Paul be wishing for Agrippa 
such a ripe opportunity to experience for nimself such a fresh, personal 
discovery without distraction and diversion? 

Chains are restrictive is surely what Paul is implying here. And he 
would wish no impediment to stand in the king's way for Agrippa was 
already on the verge of making a decision based on Paul's long self- 
defense and personal appeal to him. In no way would he want Agrippa 
burdened with any weight or restricted by any barrier to outright discovery 
of the living Lord. 

On the other hand, for Paul the limitations created by the chains caused 
him to reflect personally that no situation is ever so hopeless, no in- 
dividual is ever so helpless, no occasion is ever so filled with hurting 
that God cannot be present with the one who suffers and yet endures. 
In his great prison epistle - Philippians - Paul has confided openly: "...for 

1 have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what 
it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned 
the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed 
or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through 
him who gives me strength," (Philippians 3:12-13). Surely Paul became 
a living example of an individual equipped by God to overcome incredible 
obstacles. Undoubtedly the Roman court at Caesarea must have been 
impressed by the sheer courage and tenacity of this man in chains. 

I believe that there is another dimension to Paul's use of this concluding 
phrase "except for these chains." I can hear Paul asserting that these 


chains are redundant, or really necessary, even embarassing, yet not 
without an ultimate purpose. Again, allow me to paraphrase Paul here. 
He could be saying: "I didn't really need these chains for I've travelled 
and spoken openly and freely in a large part of the Roman Empire, but 
my period of internment here at Caesarea has caused me to experience 
some things I would not trade. Although these chains have pushed me 
beyond all reasonable levels of tolerance and endurance, what an ex- 
perience this has been for me! Don't your feel sorry for me, O Agrippa, 
or you Festus, for these are my chains!" 

In Philippians Paul has expressed his outright conviction of God's pur- 
pose in letting him experience the depths of imprisonment. "Now I want 
you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served 
to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the 
whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 
Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been en- 
couraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly 
(Philippians 1:12-14). 

Have you ever been confined in one place for two years? Or have you 
found yourself in a tight spot for an indefinite period of time? Only then 
can you possibly relate to Paul's situation. How well I recalled the line 
of that great hymn "Once to Every Man and Nation" which goes "New 
occasions teach new duties" when one night in the summer of 1985 I 
boarded the night train from Johannesburg to Durban in South Africa. 
I had just begun the long trip cooped up in a train compartment with 
five other men. When it came time to sleep our seats were adjusted so 
that three bunks were suspended on each side of the tiny compartment. 
There was barely room to crawl in and I felt fortunate to have a lower 
bunk. I don't think I ever felt more cramped or confined in my life. I 
laid my head not on the pillow provided but on the leather shoulder bag 
I'd been carrying with me for some six weeks in Africa. It was filled 
with several dozen pieces of priceless Palestinian pottery, some my own, 
and some from the Ashland Theological Seminary collection, which I 
had been using in my lectures at various Bible schools and seminaries 
in East and Central Africa. This indeed was one new occasion in which 
I could hardly see anything new and lasting occurring. But God in his 
providence placed in that compartment a gentleman considerably my 
senior who must have noted my uneasiness and my over-protection of 
my shoulder bag. He tried in a series of indirect and finally direct ques- 
tions to ascertain why I didn't just put the bag up above where it would 
be out of the way, and even more pointedly, what was so important about 
that bag anyway that I'd even sleep with it for a pillow? Finally, I decid- 
ed to just tell him that it contained a quantity of old pieces of Palesti- 


nian pottery thinking that that would turn him off. But instead my 
response only sparked his enthusiasm and his outright excitement. He 
was quickly up and out of his berth and beside me almost begging me 
for a look inside. I learned that he had taught ceramics in England for 
over twenty-five years and was on his way to Pietermartizburg to open 
his own shop. As I watched him tenderly handle each piece during a 
period of three or four hours, I also discovered that he was related to 
the famous Doulton family of the Royal Doulton China dynasty in 
England. Soon the other men in the compartment were bending over 
to look down at the pottery collection. Two soldiers, a dentist and a stu- 
dent on break from the University of Durban and Mr. Doulton were 
my audience that night. And they heard not only about Palf^stinian pot- 
tery, but about my life and witness. I had felt helpless and lonesome 
when I first boarded that train. I had secretly asked: "Why me. Lord, 
here on this night train?" But you see that experience with that unex- 
pected audience became a new occasion and even a great occasion and 
surely one of the most unforgettable occasions of all my time in Africa. 
I simply would not have traded that night's experiences for anything. 
I learned in that experience to listen to Paul's "except for these chains." 
Chains are not without positive fallout. Paul had planned to go to Rome 
as a missionary evangelist; he was taken to Rome as a prisoner defen- 
ding the faith before Caesar himself. Indeed, "new occasions teach new 
duties." What a remarkable learning experience was that unconventional 
compartment on the night express to Durban. 

Finally, I believe I can hear Paul saying with reference to his chains: 
"I accept and even hold up for you these chains since they are God's 
redemptive symbol for you and others. Yes, these chains are God's mark 
of a redemptive process at work." Paul again has expressed this aspect 
of his chains so candidly in the Epistle to the Philippians. "Whatever 
happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. 
Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, 
I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one many 
for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those 
who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but 
that you will be saved - and that by God. For it has been granted to 
you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer 
tor him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, 
and now hear that I still have" (Philippians 1:27-30). 

Jim Elliott, one of the five missionaries martyred by the Auca Indians, 
wrote in his diary: "He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep to 
gain what he cannot lose. ' Following Jesus involves as costly discipleship. 
Paul was aware that his chains were part of that redemptive act of suf- 


tering and humiliation which took place in the sacrifice and death of 
Jesus Christ. As a proud Pharisee Paul had long before been broken 
in pride and in religious spirit. But he was broken only to be reborn 
and reshaped for service to Christ and His Church. Chains are clearly 
a symbol of submissive brokenness in the life of the prisoner. So, too, 
the chains that come into our Christian life today may impede our spiritual 
progress, may cause us varying degrees of inconvenience, and can even 
create impossible demands which would literally break us. But with Paul 
we need to see obstacles as opportunities for deeper spiritual growth 
and commitment. Paul, despite his many chains in life, never gave up. 
He looked to Jesus - the author and perfector of the faith. He participated 
in the struggle for faith. He experienced the redeeming work of sharing 
with Christ and others the unfinished task of evangelizing. Paul's living 
example of dealing with his chains witnessed to Herod Agrippa and his 
court on that so long ago and it offers us a challenge in our Christian 
walk even today. 


Circuit riders And Camp Meetings 

by Dr. Ben Witherington 

1. Periodic Panaceas 

Circuit riders and camp meetings - these were the staple items in the 
diet of the Methodist Church during the time of its most spectacular 
growth, the 19th century. Since we are now asking ourselves how we 
may once again grow, it may prove useful to examine the means used 
in previous eras. Thus, in this series we will focus on two means once 
used to promote church growth in the hopes that they may yet again 
lead us down the right path. 

The first thing one notices about circuit riders and camp meetings 
is how intermittent their presence was. A family, even in the heyday 
of camp meetings would not likely have gone to more than two a year. 
Circuit riders, especially west of the Appalachians, were unlikely to 
see any given settlement more than once a month, and many had two 
month circuits. This suggests that the effect circuit riders and camp 
meetings had on members' spiritual formation was that of a catalyst 
or rejuvenator. 

Outside the major cities, especially in the first half of the 19th cen- 
tury, people got their religion in strong and powerful, but periodic, doses. 
The circuit rider knew that every sermon had to be "preached for a 
verdict" and every camp meeting had to be treated as a golden oppor- 
tunity to reach the people for Christ. This produced a religious fervor 
in the traveling preacher that often reached fever pitch. When one is 
convinced that but for this one sermon or this one camp meeting, souls 
are on the way to hell , it tends to make one take the task at hand very 

There was not a lot of variety in camp meeting preaching, but there 
was earnestness. There was a concentration on conversion or revival 
preaching, not on nurture or how to live the day to day Christian life. 
Yet, at the end of the camp meeting week, the family went back to their 
farm and would be left ' 'to work out their salvation with fear and trembl- 
ing" on their own. 

Doubtless, this was a lopsided approach but it certainly produced 
results. Today's preaching tends to focus mainly on nurture and growth. 
We seem to assume that we are preaching to the converted who already 
know the essentials of how to come to Christ, to experience the new 
birth, to be, as Wesley said, "an altogether and not just an almost" 


Perhaps we preachers fear it might be taken as an insult to tell longtime 
Church members, who are decent and honest folks, that even they must 
be born of God. Whatever the reasons for the insufficient stress today 
on conversion and justification, it may be time for the pendulum to swing 
back to these basics of the faith. To our laudable stress on sanctifica- 
tion and Christian growth must once more be added a call to the crisis 
experience which brings about new creatures in Christ. Such a stress 
may again bring new life to Methodism. 

2. The Long and Winding Road 

Long before Peter Cartwright was born, and before Francis Asbury 
mounted his first horse, there were already circuit riders in this coun- 
try who called themselves Methodists. It appears that Methodism real- 
ly got its permanent start here when various Irish Methodists, such as 
Robert Strawbridge, immigrated to the U.S. They settled up and down 
the east coast from New York to Frederick County, Maryland. I use 
the word 'setded' loosely, for persons like Strawbridge, once they built 
a home for their families, were soon out on the long and winding road. 

The roots of Methodist circuit riding stretch back into the 1760s and 
before that if one counts the work of George White field, before that. 
The first preachers were neither ordained clergy nor even authorized 
or appointed by Wesley. 

Thus, when Asbury arrived in 1771 with Richard Wright he found 
a movement already in motion. Between the time of his arrival and the 
1784 Christmas Conference, Asbury spent his time organizing and con- 
solidating, correcting and regulating "the connexion" of Methodist lay 
preachers who were out there doing their own thing. With the excep- 
tion of the Revolutionary War years, he rode 4000 or more miles a year 
on horseback surveying the work of the circuit riders. No one could 
match Asbury for traveling zeal. Methodist preachers came to accept 
his leadership probably because he made so many sacrifices to build 
up and organize the connection. 

Some circuit riders did approach Asbury 's traveling record. James 
Finley of Ohio rode to 32 places in one month covering numerous coun- 
ties. He would minister to as many as 1000 people on a given trip. 

To say the least, circuit riders were rugged individualists. Thus, 
Asbury 's organizing efforts were made difficult by the fact that they 
did not like being told what to do or how to do it. When Asbury went 
to see Strawbridge to suggest he stop serving the Lord's Supper until 
ordination became a reality, Strawbridge was outraged. However, he 
apparently just smiled and went on his way doing just as he had done 
before. But in time, all came to respect Asbury as the master organizer 


of American Methodism. By his hands, the church, with ordained clergy, 
became a reality in 1784 and moved toward the 19th century. 

3. Colorful Characters 

Methodist circuit riders in the 19th century were by no means alone 
on the backwoods trails. There were Presbyterians and Baptists who 
rode the circuits. But only Methodism had the connectional system that 
made possible getting the maximum benefit out of circuit preaching and, 
later, camp meetings. 

It has been said, "The Methodists preached a message to the com- 
mon man and used the common man to preach it." The feeling on the 
frontier was that Methodist preachers were "one of us." They could 
identify with the hardships of life endured in the wildeme»;s. For whatever 
reason, Methodists did not follow the route of the Presbyterian early 
in the 19th century, that is, insist on a highly educated and more sta- 
tionary clergy. The result was that Methodism reached more people 
and identified with those people perhaps better than any other Protes- 
tant group at that time. Indeed, Methodists were famous and infamous 
for the lengths they would go to reach a settler. 

Richard Nolley was one famous for finding the isolated setders west 
of the Appalachians. He once came upon a family just unpacking their 
wagon. Recognizing the black hat and long black riding coat, the set- 
tler exclaimed, "What, another Methodist preacher! We left Virginia 
and Georgia to escape the Methodists!" Nolley replied, "You had bet- 
ter make peace with the Methodists - there will be some in both heaven 
and hell!" 

Without question circuit riders were often colorful characters. Take 
Lorenzo Dow of Connecticut who liked to stand in the pulpit and pro- 
claim the latest news from hell, or James Axley, a ventriloquist, who 
often liked to have a dialogue from the pulpit with an imaginery person 
seated in the back pew. Once he tried this at General Conference with 
good results. By throwing his voice, he had an imaginary speaker com- 
plain that too many Methodist preachers were dressed up like dandy s. 
Axley himself turned around and surveyed the various preachers dressed 
in fine clothes. He then answered the imaginary complainer, "If you 
please, sir, we will just drop the subject." But the point was made. 

What we discover about circuit riders is that they were the only 
"show" in town and if showmanship could draw a crowd, then they 
were happy to be "fools for Christ." To lonely people in isolated areas, 
they were one part newspaper, one part entertainment, one part tall- 
tale teller, and of course, one part preacher. In short, they were a breath 
of fresh air, a moral uplifter, and a bit of all things to all people. 


Circuit riders knew they had a captive audience. Thus. Benjamin Ab- 
bott would say from the pulpit, "Lord, begin the work now. begin it 
in this place, begin just there" and he would point his long finger at 
a particular member with telling effects. 

4. "A Hit Dog Hollers" 

There were various ways the circuit riders produced the effects they 
did on an audience. Sometimes it was the message, sometimes the 
medium. Thus, we hear of James Finley banging on the door of a 
wilderness home in foul winter weather. The mistress of the house was 
not predisposed to admitting the soaking stranger, but she finally con- 
sented to allow him to warm his hands by the fire. Once safely in front 
of the fire, Finley began singing one powerful hymn after another in 
a deep, rich voice. By the time he had finished his third hymn, the lady 
told her servants to bed down the horse and feed the preacher well. 
This was 'singing for your supper' - 19th century style. 

Consider the case of the revolutionary soldier who went to hear a 
particularly loud, gravelly-voice Methodist preacher. After a few minutes 
of thunder from the pulpit, he cried out from the last bench, "Quarter, 
quarter, I never heard such canonading as this; I yield, I yield!" With 
these words he came running to the altar. The means might be grating, 
the message blunt (repent or go to hell), but it was effective. People 
were forced to make a decision about the direction of their life, and 
their priorities. 

Then there was William McKendree, elected in 1808 as the first native 
American Methodist Bishop. McKendree had served in the Continen- 
tal Army, was converted in 1787, and was sent to Kentucky in 1799 
to supervise the Methodist work there. McKendree knew the seamier 
side of frontier life and had a real nose for graft and corruption. When 
he saw a shyster in his congregation whom he knew was taking advan- 
tage of vulnerable settlers, he would preach about his sin of extortion, 
theft, or fraud. One suspect in question came unglued and shouted out, 
"Even if I did sell them corn for a dollar a bushel, I gave them a year 
to pay for it!" This came to be called "a hit dog hollers." The direct 
method had convicted another soul. 

Finally, the mere presence of some circuit riders made a lasting im- 
pression. In 1799, Jesse Lee of North Carolina fame and three other 
preachers went to the general store after Annual Conference and all 
stood on the same feed scale. The total - 976 pounds - nearly 250 pounds 
per man. I am reminded of the words of a former luminary in our Con- 
ference who once said, "Whenever I want to see a big man. 1 just look 
in the mirror." 


Many circuit riders were big men - most produced big effects. But 
it was not without a high cost. In the first 100 years, the average age 
of mortality for circuit riders was in the 40s. During Asbury's tenure 
as Bishop, the salary was $64 per year across the board from Bishop 
to the newest preacher. Here were preachers who gave all in the ser- 
vice of their King. Their earthly rewards may have been few, but their 
heavenly reward made it all worthwhile. 

5. The First Camp Meetings 

In 1796 a cry had gone up in both Europe and America - 'Let us 
pray for revival!' After the Revolutionary War the churches were noted 
for their coldness, both physical and spiritual. Thus there was a great 
need for revitalization and when it came in 1797, it came with a bang. 
In part, revival through camp meeting was made possible thanks to two 
treaties with the Indians which made travel and open air meetings 
relatively safe as far west as the Mississippi. 

The man usually credited with beginning the revival was a Scotch- 
Irish Presbyterian named James McGready. He was rough and ready; 
not a polished preacher. McGready stressed the new birth, knowing 
its signs and recognizing its coming. No theologian, rather he was a 
moralist with religious fervour. McGready was run out of the Carolinas 
for "running people distracted and divesting them from their necessary 
vocations." Opposition became so strong that McGready got a letter 
signed in blood saying, leave the Carolinas or else! 

Leave he did at age 38 in 1796 for three small churches in Logan 
County. Kentucky. His revival there began in 1797 and soon spread 
to all his churches by June, 1800. Many people were either swooning 
or shouting wildly under the impact of his preaching. 

It was in July, 1800 at Caspar Church that the first true camp meeting 
took place. The meeting was announced in advance and 13 wagon loads 
of people arrived coming from as much as 100 miles away. This meeting 
in turn led to the most famous of the meetings in August, 1801 in Bour- 
bon County, Kentucky at Cane Ridge. It was planned by a McGready 
convert named Barton Stone in conjunction with various Baptists and 
Methodists. About 147 wagon loads of people filled the camp meeting. 

Thus, the great Kentucky Revival began, a movement which, when 
Asbury got involved, was "regularized". It was exported back to the 
east with amazing effectiveness. Next we will look at the structure of 
these camp meetings. 

6. Circle the Wagons 

Without question, the heyday of camp meetings was in the period 


1 800- 1 860. During the course of this period the meetings came to have 
certain characteristic features. For instance, in the early years, the camp 
meeting would last some 7-8 days and be an ecumenical venture. Asbury 
shortened this to a 4 day venture when he exported it back to the east 
because he knew city folk were not such a captive audience. 

There were three basic patterns to the camp meetings - square, 
horseshoe, or the one Asbury preferred, circular. In the circular pat- 
tern there would be an outer ring of wagons, inside of which would 
be a circle of tents with fires in front of each tent. Inside this circle 
there would be the meeting area which included a partition down the 
middle to separate the men from the women. Here also was a platform 
with a pulpit for the preacher. 

In the early meetings, preaching continued in shifts throughout the 
night. One Methodist invention was the mourner's bench, so called 
because those who needed to repent and deal with guilt also needed 
a place to go other than the altar. When ready for total commitment 
to Christ, then they could approach the altar. 

It was Asbury in 1809 who thought of getting a ground floor prepared 
in advance, bringing in some wooden benches, and even erecting a 
wooden roof over the area. Thus, outdoor tabernacles were born. This 
led to camp meeting grounds springing up all over the eastern half of 
the U.S. Some of these meeting areas, such as Asbury Park in New 
Jersey, still bear the names of those who helped get them started. 

The last night of the camp meeting would feature a great deal of sing- 
ing, often many baptisms, and marching around the circle of the camp 
with pine cone branches held high, reminiscent of Joshua's troops circling 
Jericho, Spirits were indeed high by this point. . . 

7. The One and the Many 

To understand the camp meeting you must first understand that peo- 
ple, especially west of the Appalachians, lived 6 to 10 miles from their 
nearest neighbors. These people experienced lonely and harsh times 
while trying to build their homes and eke out a living in the wilderness. 
We need to be aware that camp meetings must have served a great social 
as well as religious need. For these settlers, the need for fellowship 
and friends was indeed great. 

Thus, the camp meeting became one part vacation, one part business 
trip, one part family reunion, and one part religious experience. In some 
ways, the camp meetings before Asbury's influence were rather like 
carnivals. There were salesmen of all sorts seeking to sell everything 
from shoes to farm tools to the latest elixirs. There were various ne'er- 
do-wells looking to seduce the 'innocent'. In short, the camp meeting 


became a sort of temporary city with all the usual benefits and banes 
of city life. At their peak, when some 25,000 would arrive for a camp 
meeting, they were indeed small cities. 

The camp meetings brought together people of all ages, races, and 
denominations. Out of these meetings grew friendships, weddings, 
business deals, and even religious conversions. This was the place to 
swap your best recipes, drag out your tallest tales, and let the children 
find new playmates. 

People came to these meetings already in a holiday mood, ready for 
a change from the daily grind of dawn to dusk farming. It is safe to 
say that many came with pent-up feelings, and while at the camp meeting 
were able to let go and let God. As Harvey Cox says, "carnival 
behavior'' prevailed and all sorts of human energies were let loose by 
the spirit. 

The spiritual phenomena that resulted was often bizarre but never 
boring. Here a lonely person could come and become a part of something 
larger than himself. Here the one could mix with the many and not on- 
ly make friends but also let down the barriers of protection used to sur- 
vive in the wilderness. It has been suggested that the genius of the camp 
meeting was that the individual could lore himself in the masses and 
yet be found by God. By letting the barriers down, a person could come 
to terms with himself and join with others in a religious experience. 
This led to unusual forms of group behavior and in our next article we 
will analyze this phenomenon further. 

8. "Holy Barking" and "The Jerks" 

Some of the first camp meetings were known for allowing things to 
get more than a little out of hand when the oceans of human emotion 
were let loose. Though men and women were regularly separated by 
a barrier, when the swooning and shouting got going the women were 
known to tear open their clothing and fall to the ground, or run around 
hugging and kissing friends and strangers alike. 

The men and children were often seen to engage in one of the odder 
forms of motor response to preaching known as "holy barking". This 
involved dropping on to all fours and running about snapping and growl- 
ing, even foaming at the mouth. Groups would surround a tree baying 
as if the devil himself were sitting in the branches. A more common 
reaction was what is now called "being slain in the Spirit." This would 
often happen to a group in the congregation at some dramatic point in 
the preaching. At that point they would fall into a "spiritual coma" 
which could last from a few minutes to several hours. There were reports 
that often people would preach sermons for an hour or more at an in- 


credible volume while in this comatose state. 

Perhaps, however, the most peculiar of the spiritual phenomena was 
called the "'jerks". This arose in the Tennessee camp meetings and in- 
volved first the wild gyration of the head, followed by the arms and 
whole body until one became a veritable whirling dervish. Peter Cart- 
wright, that most famous of Methodist Circuit Riders, said he saw as 
many as 500 people behaving in this way, no doubt in a sort of epilep- 
tic seizure. He once reported with real satisfaction that when some proper 
city women came to gawk at a camp meeting, suddenly they were taken 
with the "jerks'" and could not control themselves. Cartwright judged 
that the Spirit had gotten hold of these souls and taught them a lesson 
- do not underestimate the power of God. 

Surprisingly, Asbury and others relished the holy noise and other 
phenomena of the camp meetings. So long as there was no moral aber- 
rations, they believed it to be of the Spirit. As Asbury saw it, these 
were evidences that God was working dramatically in a human life with 
the result being a morally and religiously changed person. The end thus 
justified the means, or perhaps the means manifested the dramatic 
transformation taking place. In our next article we will examine the 
Methodist restrictions on camp meetings. 

9. Methodist Strictures 

Asbury and McKendree took part in their first camp meeting in the 
fall of 1800 in Drake's Creek, Tennesse. Both were very impressed 
with the potential of reaching so many people at once. In January of 
1801 Asbury was already writing to his preachers urging them to have 
camp meetings as often as possible. By 1810 his enthusiasm still had 
not waned. He called for 10,000 Methodist camp meetings, writing his 
preachers, "Camp meetings, camp meetings, glory, glory!" 

But things were to be done decently and in order, and so Asbury drew 
up some rules. First of all, Asbury felt the meetings lost their max- 
imum impact by dragging on too long. Thus, he standardized a four 
day period from Friday through Monday. He would line up preachers 
in a certain order so that the better preachers would not come on until 
at least Saturday afternoon. This gave everyone plenty of time to ar- 
rive. The Bishop set up shifts for the preaching but insisted on a 10 
p.m. curfew. 

After the curfew Asbury had guards with armbands patrol the grounds 
to insure upright and moral behavior. To that end not only were tor- 
ches to be kept burning all night, but also each tent was required to 
have a lit candle within. Needless to say, there was also to be a bucket 
of water outside each tent. Surprisingly, there was only one serious fire 


at any camp meeting, and it was not a Methodist one. 

Another Methodist innovation was introduced by Valentine Cook who 
decided to set up a wooden altar at the front of the meeting place. All 
who were willing to take the first step into the Kingdom were invited 
to come down to that pine altar to be met by Methodist lay workers. 

Asbury had the camp meeting rules posted well in advance. Some 
complained that the trees became "lettered pillars. . . inscribed with 
the 12 tables of the camp code." Despite all the rules, some problems 
still arose. But circuit riders knew well how to deal with rabble rousers 
and ruffians. Finley would often come down from the pulpit, seize the 
offender, and shake him till his teeth rattled. James Haven, the so-called 
Napoleon of Indiana Methodism, once grabbed a ruffian by the hair 
and threw him to the ground. These were crude methods for a crude age. 

Methodists often learned to improvise. If the crowd was not familiar 
with a hymn, no matter. The leader would sing it out a line at a time 
to a tune they did know. 

Thus it was that through the concurrence of the Methodist connec- 
tional system and camp meetings, a combination of freedom and 
discipline, thousands came into the Methodist Church (10,000 in the 
Kentucky Revival of 1801-1808 alone). What lessons may we learn from 
all this? In our last article we will draw some conclusions. 

10. Beyond the Frontier 

Why is it that camp meetings and circuit riders served Methodism 
so well in the nineteenth century? Certainly one reason was that 
Methodist theology was well-suited for such a time and such meetings. 
Indeed, it was a Gospel tailor-made for frontier life. 

Methodists preached that by God's grace you and your circumstances 
could be dramatically improved. Conversion was a need and a possibility 
for everyone. A person joined to God could do all things in Him who 
strengthened him. Conversion was called for over and over by the 
preacher, a conversion that could have visible results by changing 
behavior and character. This was a philosophy that stressed the impor- 
tance of human decision and human potential enabled by grace. It was 
optimistic, and geared toward the power of positive thinking. As one 
author noted, Methodists preached a religious version of rags to riches. 

Secondly, the connectional system of circuit riders was flexible enough 
to expand with the frontier, and smart enough to direct people from 
the camp meetings into the local Methodist chapels. Only the Methodists 
had such a network that could go and grow where the people were. 
If Methodism wishes to expand and grow today, it must again be flexi- 
ble enough to plant new churches where the population is, or face be- 


ing left behind. I suggest simple and flexible buildings that can meet 
many social needs for congregations of between 200-300 members, 
rather than large and costly building projects. 

Thirdly, camp meetings met the social needs of the people. Perhaps 
churches should be used more for social events aimed at the communi- 
ty as a whole. Churches can also be used for counseling centers, day 
care centers, hunger centers - to meet the needs of the community 7 
days a week. There is a desperate need in our fragmented society. 

Finally, the early Methodists witnessed Spirit-filled worship services 
which today would help the Church enormously. Granted, we don't 
need the excesses often seen at camp meetings, but it would seem that 
Methodism has long since gone to the other extreme. Sometimes our 
attitude seems to be, 'Far be it from us to let the power of God break 
forth in the congregation.' Are we afraid of what God might do if we 
let go and let God? 

It was said of the early Methodists that they prayed better with their 
eyes closed than with their eyes open. In worship services especially 
we should help our members articulate their faith in spontaneous prayer 
and without written prompting. Order we have, hvxfei'vor we need more 
of. Perhaps we should hear the call once again of the old spiritual, "Over 
Jordan, over Jordan, my heart longs to go into camp ground again." 

- Reprinted by permission of the A^. C. Christian Advocate 



by Kevin A. Miller 

A Pennsylvania pastor hired with high hopes a fund-raising consul- 
tant for his church. The previous year had been tough on the church. 
Local unemployment had soared to 26 percent. After nineteen years of 
meeting budget, the church ran a deficit of nearly $28,000; only 
courageous tithing of severance pay by some who were faced into early 
retirement kept the shortfall to $6,000. 

The church knew it needed a solid financial base for the future, so 
it engaged a fund-raising consultant to lead a capital-funds campaign. 
"No problem," said the owner of the fund-raising company, a retired 
clergyman. "Fll find fresh money within the congregation, beyond what's 
already committed. With my trained staff of retired clergy doing the 
calling, I can promise success." 

What he delivered instead, according to the pastor, were "additional 
expenses and lots of hard feeling." First, the consultant told the con- 
gregation to ignore any current financial commitments made to the church 
and pledge again, thus reusing previously pledged funds to make the 
new money raised seem greater. He ordered publications and materials, 
and billed them to the church without authorization. Finally, he 
misrepresented, or at least miscommunicated, his fee and billing schedule, 
and socked the church with unexpected charges. 

The angry church dismissed the consultant and hired a different firm. 
This one, the pastor says, "has done a super job. They've been up front 
and honest; we know exactly what it's going to cost. I was unusually 
impressed with their evaluation of the church - no outrageous guarantees 
- and we're excited about the program we're doing together." The church's 
financial future looks bright. 

Selecting the right consultant to lead a fund-raising campaign takes 
careful scrutiny. But finding a reputable and competent consultant is well 
worth the effort. Tapping their professional expertise, thousands of chur- 
ches have constructed new sanctuaries, refurbished old ones, purchas- 
ed land, and retired debts. "The church needs money to move," says 
one financial counselor, and each year consultants raise nearly a billion 
dollars in such "moving expenses." 

Indeed, one factor complicating the choice of a fund-raising consul- 
tant is the sheer number available. The National Society of Fund-Raising 
Executives boast twenty-seven hundred members, and perhaps two thou- 


sand firms work with churches. And this number does not include 
denominational officials who lead fund-raising campaigns. 

A few firms are large, staffing several dozen consultants and working 
with more than a hundred churches during any given year. The vast ma- 
jority of firms, however, are small, one- or two-person operations led 
by retired clergy or those who pastor part-time and raise funds on the side. 

No regulatory agency governs fund raisers or sets minimum ethical 
standards. Despite the lack of controls, however, only a minute number 
of fund raisers could be considered unethical, according to people both 
within and without the industry. 

Del Rogers, president of a Dallas-based consulting firm, says the horror 
stories stem not from malicious intent but the misguided content of some 
campaigns - programs relying on methods that create hard feelings. 

As L.H. Coleman, executive vice president of Cargill Associates" 
church division, puts it, "The problem is not with integrity. The integrity 
level among consultants is high. It\s the competence level that varies 
greatly." Every consultant considers his approach biblical, but some simp- 
ly do not achieve acceptable results, or their tactics bruise parishioners. 
The critical issue for churches, then, is not so much finding a consul- 
tant who means well, but one who manages well. 

The key in getting the right consultant is knowing what questions to 
ask before signing the contract. 

Do We Need a Consultant? 

The first two questions are "Do we need a capital-funds campaign?" 
and if so, "Can we raise the money ourselves, or do we need outside 
help?" The answer to the first question depends largely on two guidelines: 

A church's long-term debt should not be more than three times its 
annual operating income. If, for example, a church's annual income is 
$250,000, it ought to take notice when its long-term debt passes $500,000 
and consider $750,000 its ceiling. 

A church ought not spend more than 30 percent of its operating in- 
come on debt service (principal and interest). 

If a church approaches either of these limits, then it's time to con- 
sider a major capital campaign. 

The answer to "Can we go it alone?" depends on how much money 
needs to be raised. "If it's a vibrant church, if the pastor has some gifts 
in fund raising, and if the need is less than their annual income, a church 
might consider doing it themselves," according to Coleman. "But if a 
church needs more than its annual income, it needs a consultant." 

A consultant will almost always help a church raise more money than 
it could on its own, for a number of reasons: the firm's experience, their 


organization, the fact that most pastors don't have the time to devote 
to a major fund-raising project. 

'The consultant becomes a catalyst," says Vic Pentz, pastor of First 
Presbyterian Church in Yakima, Washington, who recently began a capital 
funds campaign. "There's an aura about having someone come in from 
outside. It holds everybody accountable. You tend to work harder, to 
do things on schedule. Sometimes you think, 'Hey, we could do these 
things ourselves'. But you probably wouldn't." 

It's not uncommon for pastors and boards considering hiring a pro- 
fessional to hit resistance. 

"There's a lot of stigma in the church against a fund raiser," says one 
pastor who recently hired one. "The word conjures up an image of a 
fast-talking guy with a gold ring on his pinky." One pastor in the 
Southwest had strong support from his people to build a new building. 
The church hired a professional architect and contractor with little notice. 
Then it hired a professional fund raiser, and people objected, saying, 
"When it comes to money, we should trust God, not professionals." 
Pastors deliberating whether to employ a fund-raising consultant will 
need to factor in these emotional considerations. 

What Can Consultants Deliver? 

Without question, consultants can deliver dollars - lots of them. The 
average campaign raises between two and four times a church's annual 
income (in pledges for a three-year period, beyond what people are cur- 
rently giving). Thus, if a church's annual income is $150,000 it could 
reasonably expect to raise between $300,000 and $600,000 in pledges 
during a campaign, and would normally see 80 to 90 percent of that 
come in over the next three years. This two- to four-times ratio seems 
constant across the industry. Even those pastors and boards who want 
to estimate conservatively can plan on at least one-and-a-half times their 
church income. 

The average works the other way, too. Though there are true super- 
success stories, like the church with a $230,000 budget that raised 2.1 
million - over nine times its income - these are exceptions and should 
be regarded as such. 

What does vary is the percentage of pledges made that actually come 
in over the next three years. Three churches in a major southwestern 
city recently held campaigns of similar size, and each raised approx- 
imately the same amount in pledges. In one church, less than half the 
pledged money ever hits the offering plates. In another, less than a third 
of the pledges were good. In the third, about 90 percent came in. When 
each percentage point represents thousands of dollars, the pay-up rate 
proves crucial. 


So when considering a consultant, one factor to check is not only the 
level of pledges a firm can boast, but the records indicating the percen- 
tage of pledges that actually came in. The better firms generally see 
80 to 90 percent of their pledges honored. 

Firms will not guarantee these averages or any dollar amount, so though 
you can expect a certain level of pledges, you cannot hold the firm liable 
if that level isn't reached. As one fimd raiser explains: "We can guarantee 
we will lead an organized campaign, but only you people and the Holy 
Spirit know what can happen in your church." And it is probably to 
pastors' advantage not to insist on a guarantee; any firm that guarantees 
its results will be sorely tempted to use high-pressure methods to succeed. 

What Will It Cost Us? 

It's next to impossible to find out what a consultant will cost, short 
of actually having one make an initial visit and presentation to a church. 
A pastor cannot do comparison pricing by phone. 

Consultants rely on a complex formula to compute their fees, and they 
are averse to divulging it. But some of the factors that affect the fee are: 

Location of the church. Transportation costs comprise a major por- 
tion of the fee, so generally, the farther a church is from the firm's nearest 
office, the more it will pay. This may be reduced, however, if the firm 
is working with another church in the area at about the same time. 

What the money is for. The easiest type of money to raise is that 
earmarked for a new sanctuary; the hardest money to raise is for debt 
retirement. Many firms adjust fees accordingly. 

Size of the church. Usually, the larger the church, the more work 
for the consultant and the more printed materials that are needed, and 
thus, the more he or she will charge. 

Other factors are disputed. One firm says the amount of money to 
be raised affects the fee; another says that doesn't enter in at all. 

These variables result in some seemingly odd fees. Consider three 
recent campaigns led by three different fund raisers: 

One church had a $500,000 project; the firm's fee was $30,000. 

In another church, a firm raised close to $1 million; its fee was $27,000. 

A third church raised $1.5 million; the consultant charged $22,000. 

Consultants will divulge their fee when they make an initial evalua- 
tion and presentation, for which there is no charge. During this visit 
to the church, the consultant will explain his or her particular approach 
and answer questions. 

Some firms take an entirely different approach to fees, earning a flat 
percentage of the money raised, say, one-half of 1 percent. At first glance 
this approach looks appealing. The compensation is tied directly to the 
results, and thus the firm will be highly motivated to bring in the money. 


But in the system lurks great danger. Warns one professional: "Fund 
raisers that work on a percentage will be tempted to use hype and emo- 
tionalism to increase their take. They're more inclined to twist arms." 

With either system, though, it's important that a church understand 
clearly what the consultant will provide and precisely what those ser- 
vices will cost. 

Payment schedules vary. Some firms ask for 10 percent down, with 
the rest spread out over the length of the campaign, usually three to six 
months. Others require four equal monthly payments. But in any case, 
churches will have to pay all or part of the fee up front. They cannot 
expect to wait until the money is raised and use that money to pay the 
fees. Having said that, however, many consultants will arrange the pay- 
ment schedule so that the last few payments are due after the dollars 
start flowing in, so at least a portion of the fee might be covered by the 
money raised. 

Do Consultants I^y for Themselves? 

Most pastors considering an outside consultant will have to answer, 
to the satisfaction of the church, "How do you justify that hefty con- 
sulting fee?" 

Records show that in most cases consultants have generated far more 
than their fees in dollars above what churches typically raise on their 
own. The church that "saves" the fee will usually net smaller results. 
Says L.H. Coleman, "usually the first person you contact in a campaign, 
you've more than paid for the fee," since most campaigns approach larger 
donors first. 

Another way to consider the question is to figure what it would cost 
to borrow the money rather than hold a capital-funds drive. Say a church 
takes a $500,000 loan to 10 percent interest over twenty years. The church 
will pay over six hundred thousand dollars in interest to the bank. Even 
if you allow for the congregation raising some money itself through "Debt 
Retirement Sundays," the church will pay several hundred thousand 
dollars in interest, which is not tax-deductible and benefits the church 
in no way. 

On the other had, suppose the church takes the same loan but holds 
a capital funds campaign. If the campaign begins in January, dollars 
start arriving in April. Construction begins in say, June, with early cam- 
paign dollars helping pay for site preparation and architects' fees. By 
the next April, when construction is finished and the church is ready 
to put permanent financing in place, almost $200,000 has come in (the 
first year is always highest). The church can thus borrow much less, 
about $350,000 and pay that off over the next two years with the re- 
maining campaign income. At the end of the third year, the church is 


debt free and has paid well under $100,000 in interest. Even adding a 
:onsuItant's fee, the costs to the church are less than those in the first 

What Will the Consultants Do? 

When a church contacts a fund-raising firm, a consultant will take 
information about the church, such as its size and characteristics, its 
innual budget, and how much the church wants to raise. 

Then the consultant will meet the pastor and/or the decision-making 
3ody. Most will gladly return to make a presentation to the entire church, 
f desired. 

During the presentations, the consultant will outline the time, activities, 
md fees involved, and what the church can reasonably expect to raise, 
rhe presentation usually sets a positive, forward-looking tone: "We can 
io this together." Words like dreams, goals, potentials, and commitment 
ire favorites of fund raisers. There is no cost to the church for these 
nitial contacts and presentations. 

What will the person be like? Consultants, most often, have had ex- 
perience as a pastor or church staff member at some point, or are very 
ictive laymen. And they are eminently likeable. One pastor describes 
he fund raiser his church hired: "He looks like a grandpa, smiles a 
ot, and touches you when he talks to you. He allays all your fears." 
\dds an industry observer, "You're always going to be dealing with nice 
)eople in this business. You aren't going to find any nasty people when 
hey 're trying to sell you a contract." 

Should the church decide to hire the consultant, an agreement will 
)e sent by mail for the church to sign. Once the contract is signed, a 
:hurch cannot back out without some legal entanglements or paying the 
'ull fee, but this happens only rarely. And if internal problems come 
ip in the church, say, a key staff member leaves or is fired, most firms 
vill try to postpone the program for a while, if possible. 

The campaign lasts from three to eight months, with about four months 
)eing average. Each fund raiser structures a capital campaign slightly 
iifferently, but most employ the following elements: 

An introductory meeting to set an upbeat, positive tone in the con- 
gregation. In some firms' program, the consultant will address the con- 
gregation on Sunday morning in place of the pastor's sermon. 

An evaluation process. The consultant tries to get a clear picture of 
he church's giving potential, attitude toward the project, and potential 
eaders. The information may come through a survey, or more often, 
hrough a meeting of five to twenty people, either the church's current 
eaders or a cross section of the membership. 


Some firms use this evaluation period to identify the largest potential 
donors, either by looking at individuals' giving records or by analyzing 
their probable income based on home location and occupation. Other 
firms look only at giving patterns of the whole church. Most firms will 
press to see any records the church doesn't want to release, but chur- 
ches should know the firm's usual practice and the information they 

Recruitment of leaders. Based on the information gathered during 
the evaluation period, the consultant enlists a steering committee to lead 
the campaign. Typically, this committee includes about ten people who 
exhibit, in the words of one consultant, "spiritual leadership ability, 
natural leadership ability, and financial leadership ability." Since in most 
campaigns the top five gifts come from members of the commitee, one 
might conclude the last criterion weighs quite heavily. 

The steering committee then gathers other members of the congreg- 
tion to help with the campaign. The campaign is usually carefully organiz- 
ed, with each person given a title - director, chairperson, captain, worker 
- and a clear job description. Through several training sessions, the con- 
sultant explains to each person his or her job and gives each a manual 
or notebook. 

First home visit. Trained people from the church then call on people 
in their homes. During this fifteen- to thirty-minute visit, no one is ask- 
ed to make a commitment. Instead, the visitors (ideally a couple, ac- 
cording to one consultant) talk briefly about the good things happening 
at the church, and ask what needs in the home they might pray for. The 
visit is intended primarily to establish a climate of support and expectancy. 

Some firms use only one home visit during the campaign, during which 
they do gather commitments. Others rely on their own staff of trained 
clergy, rather then the church's lay people to make the visits. 

Maynard Nelson, pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, 
Minnesota, has employed numerous consulting firms during his ministry, 
and has experience with both approaches. His view: "The outside visitors 
did the job, but it's much more effective using your own people if possible. 
It's better to involve large numbers of people and have broad ownership 
of the program and its goals." 

During this early stage of the campaign, some consultants ask the pastor 
to meet with potential large donors, usually over dinner in private homes, 
to personally explain the program and enlist their support. Fund raisers 
hope to encourage, through this or other approaches, a lead gift that 
is 10 percent of the campaign goal. 

Prayer emptiasis. Some consultants set up twenty-four hour prayer 
vigils; others use prayer chains or other approaches. 


Informational period. Also called a "promotional period," this is 
the stage during which the church gives people the who-what-when- 
where-why of the program, in detail. "It's not fair to ask people for money 
unless they know what's going to happen to that money," says Coleman. 
Brochures and newsletters are sent to church members, describing the 
projects, detailing the floor plan of the new building, and so on. Bible 
studies and Sunday school classes on Christian attitudes toward giving 
are held. The pastor preaches a four-week series of messages on steward- 
ship. During the Sunday morning service each week of this period, a 
member gives a testimony, telling why he or she is excited about the 
church and program, and usually naming the specific amount he or she 
will be giving. Fund raisers look for a mix of wealthy and not-so-wealthy 
to give these testimonies; many firms ask the pastor to give the first one. 

All church gathering. This is either a banquet or worship service. 
The pastor usually gives the keynote address, and selected members of 
the congregation talk about what God has done for the church in the 
past, what he's doing in the present, and what he will do in the future. 
Often a slide show gives information and inspiration about the church 
and project. The consultant is usually not present for this event. 

Some firms gather the campaign leaders at a "leadership challenge 
meeting" a few days before the banquet and ask them to make their com- 
mitment to the campaign. Then, at the banquet, the leaders' commitments 
are announced, encouraging people that the high goal really is accessi- 
ble. In some churches, the leaders alone contribute more than the church 
initially thought the entire congregation could give. 

A canvass period. Most campaigns take people's commitments dur- 
ing the first one or two weeks following the all-church gathering. Some 
firms train people to phone and make appointments, others just show 
up, but either way, people have been prepared through five or six newslet- 
ters and the pastor's message to expect the visitors. The visitors talk 
about how exciting the banquet or worship service was. Then they 
"receive the commitment" by giving the people a card and envelope. 
The people write their commitment on the card, put it in the envelope, 
and seal it, so the visitors do not know the size of the pledge. 

A few fund raisers have visitors suggest specific amounts for people 
to give, based on the people's occupation and home location. One pastor 
in the West cancelled a campaign because of this practice. His members 
were being told, "We believe God would want you to give $30,000" or 
whatever amount. 

Other firms take a decidedly low-key approach. If a person says he 
or she does not want to make a commitment to the program, the visitors 
are trained to say, "We understand. Not everyone will be able to give. 


We want you to know that we love you, and we know you're joining 
with us in prayer that God will have his way in our church." 

Pastors can minimize hurt feelings by knowing ahead of time how a 
consultant approaches these visits and determining whether the congreg- 
tion will feel comfortable with that approach. 

"Victory Day" or "Victory Service." Here the results of the cam- 
paign are announced and celebrated. This is held one or two weeks follow- 
ing the all-church gathering. 

Follow-up. The church office sends each contributor an acknowledge- 
ment letter and special envelopes, and then, each quarter, a record of 
his or her contributions. The church also sends a monthly income report 
to the consulting firm so it can monitor progress. 

The consulting firm gives the church materials for programs or bulletin 
inserts to help keep giving active over the three-year period. The big- 
gest problem for churches in the follow-up period is families who move. 
Some churces hold mini-banquets every three or six months to explain 
the program to new people in the church and gain their support. 

What is Expected of the Pastor? 

All consultants place high value on the pastor's visible and verbal sup- 
port of the campaign. "The pastor's role is vital to the success of the 
campaign," says Roy Austin, executive vice president of Resource Ser- 
vices, Inc. "The pastor is the leader, the spearhead." 

Most consultants let the amount of the pastor's giving be his or her 
own decision, "hammered out on the anvil of prayer," as one puts it. 
Some describe what other pastors have given as examples. But a few 
actually name specific dollar amounts. One pastor invited a firm to give 
a presentation to the church board. The next morning the pastor and 
consultant met for breakfast. As they sat down, the consultant said, 
"Pastor, for this thing to fly, you'll have to tell your people you're going 
to give at least $15,000 over the next three years." 

Again, pastors will want to know beforehand what the consultant's 
approaches are. 

How Do We Find the Right Consultants? 

Pastors and consultants will be working closely together for several 
months, so it's vital they see eye to eye. That means, first of all, the 
person needs to be a committed Christian and active in the local church. 
Beyond that, however, the consultant ought to mesh with the particular 

"It's helpful to consider the consultant a short-term staff member who 
should meet all the criteria you apply to anyone else on staff," says Del 
Rogers. "Hire someone you can complement other people on staff, who 


holds the same basic Christian commitment and theological stance." 

Pastor Vic Pentz agrees: "We looked for a consultant who had been 
successful in churches similar to ours, who would feel at home with 
our general approach." Because of this rule of thumb, some pastors 
choose to use their own denomination's fund raisers rather than a private 
firm. On the other hand, one pastor who has worked with both private 
and denominational fund raisers said the private consultant was more 
forthright and had a better organized program. Another said. "Our 
denominational people just didn't seem to hustle as hard." So churches 
will need to evaluate each option carefully. 

Once these basics have been established, pastors and boards ought 
to check the consultant's experience and track record: how long they've 
been in the business, how much they've raised on average, the percen- 
tage of pledges that came in. 

Pastors are wise to ask for references - and contact them. "Good con- 
sultants are more than willing to give you an extensive list of previous 
clients," says Arthur Borden, president of the Evangelical Council for 
Financial Accountability. These references can tell whether the consul- 
tant reached their churches' goals, and just as important, the methods 
they used. Did they promise more than they delivered, miscommunicate 
their fee or billing schedule, leave behind hard feelings? 

One West Coast pastor who recently checked a consultant's references 
found that in previous congregations the consultant had left a strong 
spiritual impact and people had come away with a firmer commitment 
to biblical stewardship. The pastor hired the consultant. 

"I suggest to churches an old approach many mission boards have 
used to select missionaries," says Del Rogers. "Ask the references for 
other people who have used the consultant but aren't on the consultant's 
list. Every consultant is going to list the best references. But when you 
ask those references for other references, you're probably going to get 
a better picture." 

One church took this approach several years ago and found, on closer 
investigation, that some firms had averaged less than 60 percent of their 
pledges actually coming in. Again, this figure is only one part of the 
overall picture and may not be entirely the fault of the consultant. Maynard 
Nelson explains, "You can't always blame the firm. Sometimes after 
they leave town, we pastors sigh with relief and say. "That program's 
over; let's get back to other areas of ministry.' Sometimes we're too busy 
to accept their counsel and do the fc)llow-up." 

How Likely Is a Bad Experience? 

Some pastors fear congregational backlash from a fund-raising ven- 
ture, but usually those fears are unfounded. However, "there are always 


individuals who will claim some offense to justify why they're not giv- 
ing," says a Midwest pastor who has led several campaigns. "One man 
in the congregation wrote me that he was not going to pledge until we 
changed the American flag to the right side in front of the chruch. But 
pastors usually report their members gave cheerfully and generously. 

Other churches fear a capital-funds drive will siphon money from the 
general fund, but studies show this usually doesn't happen. 

Provided the consultant is selected carefully and the campaign is sup- 
ported faithfully, the odds of having a bad experience are slim. "I can't 
really say I've had any bad experiences," says Pastor Maynard Nelson, 
veteran of more than half a dozen campaigns. "Some consultants claimed 
better results than actually happened; others did not always communicate 
well. But in all cases, we raised not just dollars, but faith." 

Nelson's church held a capital campaign several years ago to build 
a new building. After the three years were over, the church didn't want 
to slack back. "After all, the building was only a tool for outreach," 
says Nelson, "so we had another campaign to increase our missions giv- 

Most pastors who have held fund-raising ventures can say the cam- 
paigns were times of renewed spiritual vigor in their congregations. People 
became more committed and united. Membership often grew. In the 
words of one pastor, "Stewardship and evangelism go hand in hand." 

reprinted by permission of Leadership 


looking back at the forces and faces 
Of American evangelism 


The editors of Christianity Today recently asked a number of 
evangelical thinkers to assess the evangelical movement since its begin- 
ning following World War II. They examined it from the viewpoints 
of preaching, theology, missions, biblical scholarship, education, media, 
and parachurch organizations. The writers found that the movement, 
after more than 30 years, is still vital and more influential than ever. 
They also discovered many shortcomings and unfulfiied tasks. Here 
is their report: 

A Strange Turbulence 

Theologically, this period of 30 years has been strange and turbulent. 
It began with a small evangelical movement and dominant theological 
figures; it is ending with a large evangelical movement and few establish- 
ed thinkers. Between then and now lie the decades that belonged to Barth. 
Brunner, Bultmann. Tillich, and the Niebuhrs. giants whose voices are 
now stilled and whose influence has faded. Their successors could well 
have come from the evangelical world, but a vigorous, creative 
evangelical theology has not appeared to seize this moment. 

Thirty years ago leadership was provided either by those who ar- 
ticulated a characteristically different way of evangelical thinking - such 
as Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, John Murray, and J. Oliver Buswell 

- or who symbolized its growing ability to play on the same academic 
turf as everyone else - such as E.J. Carnell and Bernard Ramm. Thus 
were the seeds of discord unwittingly sown, seeds that have now pro- 
duced deep internal disarray, for the responsibilities to Athens (the 
academy) and Jerusalem (the people of God) have become loyalties that 
are often in fierce competition with one another. 

The laity 30 years ago was more doctrinally conscious and theological- 
ly literate than it is today. Indeed, the combined effects of "relational 
theology." charismatic experience, and the self movement might have 
eliminated theological interest altogether but for a group of remarkable 

- and remarkably patronized - popularizers: C.S. Lewis, who pungen- 
cy kept evangilicals thinking; Francis Schaeffer, who kept alive the reali- 


ty of a Christian world view; Martin Lloyd-Jones, who showed that 
theology could and should be preached; John Stott, whose seminal 
writings have shown how wholesome the Bible can be; and J.I. Packer, 
whose Knowing God in particular demonstrated that beneath all the 
evangelical fizz there is a deep spiritual hunger. 

In the absence of fresh systematic writing from America, translated 
imports, such as G.C. Berkouwer and Helmut Thielicke, have taken 
on special significance, as have reprints from the Reformation period 
onward. Dictionaries have had to take up the slack, too, such as Colin 
Brown's Tlie New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology 
and, most recently. Walter El well's Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 

In this period of fragmentation, when there has been little corporate- 
ly owned theological understanding, particular issues have taken on a 
life of their own, often following erratic and even bizarre courses. Most 
troublesome have been the debates about Scripture (and inerrancy), 
women (and ordination), and evangelical commitment (and who may 
and may not be considered in the movement). 

Some theologies, however, have been written. Donald Bloesch's 
Essentials of Evangelical Tlieology is a good update on key themes; 
Millard Erickson's recent three volumes of Christian Theology is also 
an able contribution. But pride of place must go to Carl Henry's six 
volumes, God, Revelation and Authority. It is a powerful, vigorous asser- 
tion of an orthodoxy whose toughness and stringency are precisely what 
evangelicalism needs to hear but apparently has been unwilling to read. 
That says only a little about Henry (whose style unfortunately does 
oscillate between being racy and being Teutonic) and much about 

It also raises an interesting question. There are rumors of various 
systematic theologies in the works. The time is undoubtedly ripe for 
theologians to capitalize on the rich harvest of biblical studies of recent 
decades, the maturing awareness of evangelical responsibility in culture 
and society, and the absence of serious competitors in the wider 
theological world. But if these theologies are written, will anybody read 

This is the question of overall survival for twentieth-century 
cvanelicalism. Given the pressures it must face, both from academia 
and our secular culture, it can hardly perpetuate itself intact if it reduces 
itself to being merely "bom-again religion," sheared of a doctrinal struc- 
ture, ethical seriousness, and a comprehensive world-view. 

By David F. Wells, Andrew Mutch Professor of Systematic and 
Historical Theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. 


Biblical Scholarship 

Small Beginnings, Rapid Progress 

In 1956 evangelical Bible scholars had just begun to emerge from 
the intellectual wilderness. The public defeat of "fundamentalism" in 
the 1920s had meant that conservative views on the Bible almost disap- 
peared from the American academic landscape. At Westminster 
Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, theologically orthodox scholars 
like Ned Stonehouse had continued to interact rigorously with academic 
literature. Stonehouse played a particularly important role in the 1940s 
by showing how cautious acceptance of certain procedures in modern 
scholarship could coexist with, and even enrich, evangelical faith. But 
this was an exception for the evangelical world that focused almost all 
of its attention on devotional uses of the Bible. 

Several sources contributed to a rejuvination of evangelical Bible 
scholarship in the 1940s and 1950s. First in time were developments 
in Britain under the umbrella of Inter- Varsity Fellowship that had been 
under way since the 1920s. Scholars from Scotland (such as F.F. Bruce), 
England (John Wenham), and from the British Commonwealth 
'Australia's Leon Morris) put university training to work in their ef- 
forts to understand the Scriptures. The publication of Bruce 's Acts of 
'he Apostles: The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary (1951), 
and soon thereafter of Inter- Varsity's New Bible Commentary, marked 
:he visible return of first-rate evangelical work on Scripture. Soon Bruce 
and a number of other individuals not prejudiced against orthodox con- 
k'ictions were directing doctoral studies by American evangelicals at 
several major British universities. 

Another source of renewal came from the "new evangelical" move- 
nent, which inspired, among other things, the founding of Fuller 
rheological Seminary. By the mid-1950s several Fuller scholars, 
especially George Ladd, were pointing the way to a restrained, yet 
academically responsible engagement with modern criticism. The series 
3n Contemporary Evangelical Thought, edited by Carl Henry (1957), 
as well as J.I. Packer's ' 'Fundamentalism ' ' and the Word of God (1958), 
showed how a high view of biblical authority could coexist with honest 

Soon evangelical publishers began to solicit scholarly volumes. In 
he forefront was Eerdmans in Grand Rapids, which published not on- 
y individual works by scholars such as Bruce, Ladd, Henry, and Mor- 
"is, but also sponsored the New International Commentary on the New 
Testament, the first academic series under evangelical auspices since 
he fundamentalist era. 


From small beginnings, evangelical Bible scholarship has made rapid 
progress. Now the major evangelical seminaries employ Bible faculties 
with training from the best universities in the world. Evangelicals con- 
tribute roughly 10 percent of the articles to the major New Testament 
journals and fill about the same proportion of slots at the annual meetings 
of the Society of Biblical Literature. Organizations such as the 
Evangelical Theological Socity. the Institute for Biblical Research, and 
the Wesleyan Theological Society also encourage detailed work. 

With progress, of course, come also new problems. In the 1980s 
evangelical organizations and institutions have had to struggle with the 
degree to which believing perspectives can accomodate the latest results 
from the academic establishment. Old Testament scholars still find it 
harder to reach common ground with nonevangelicals than do those who 
study the New Testament. As always, evangelical scholars face the twin 
dangers of compromising the solid results of research for fear of offen- 
ding traditionalists in the church. However, unlike the situation in 1956. 
a large corps of professionally capable scholars exists today to offer 
guidance for work on these knotty matters. 

By Mark A. Noll, professor of history at Wheaton College, and 
author of the book Between Faith and Criticism: Evangelical Bible 
Scholarship sine e IHHO. 

Matter-of-fact Intensity 

"The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In 
coming to Christ, we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; 
we leave it at the Cross." 

So preached A.W. Tozer thirty years ago. Now better known for his 
devotional writings, Tozer. along with men like Charles E. Fuller, Walter 
Maier. Jack MacArthur. and Billy Graham epitomized the preachers of 
the 1950s, offering a no-nonsense gospel in their straightforward style. 

Thirty years later, the tone of preaching has become less prophetic. 
Pastors seem less willing to risk being offensive, emphasizing instead 
the therapeutic value of their messages. "A generation ago, preaching 
aimed at rending the conscience," said one long-time preacher. "Today 
it seems every sermon must address some personal or family need. The 
pulpit has become a counseling tool." 

Not that the preaching art was without its problems in the fifties. A 
1946 editorial in Christianity Today lamented, "Even some of the soundest 


evangelical congregations have little appetite for the meat of the gospel. 
Nor may the preacher presuppose any diligent study on the part of the 
pew in preparation for the message. He must make the message light 
and airy to sustain interest." In 1986, no longer a lament, it has become 
an accepted fact: preachers cannot assume listeners are interested; they 
must earn a hearing. But today's preacher has also learned that messages 
need not be "light and airy" to sustain interest. Substance can be com- 
municated in ways congregations will accept. 

Preachers today, largely inspired by the example of Charles Swindoll, 
find one key is to identify with the audience. While pulpits in the fifties 
tended to preach God's Word to "you," preachers in the eighties tend 
to explain God's word to "us." An example is one pastor's recent ser- 
mon on adultery. Instead of directly condemning it, he identified with 
the problem: "It's not hard to see why people commit adultery. A chill 
sets in at home. Fatigue or stress or minor irritations add to the grow- 
ing distance between you and your spouse..." This pastor made it clear 
that he understood the problem, the went on to discuss the self-consuming 
side of this potential addiction and God's promise of freedom. Such ser- 
mons are not light and airy, but they sustain interest by realistically 
describing life's situations. 

A second recent emphasis in preaching has been the importance of 
using well-told stories and illustrations. "The Bible says" carries little 
weight in today's secular audience. The person responsible for com- 
municating God's Word to modern man must make it come alive. While 
the power of Scripture is unchanged, today's preacher has shifted the 
emphasis more toward a judicious use of contemporary examples to il- 
lustrate Scriptural principles. 

Finally, the effect of television has profoundly affected preaching style. 
Television has conditioned viewers to get information quickly in short 
blasts or "capsules." Real-life dramas are developed and solved in 30 
minutes. In newscasts, world issues are given 90 seconds, and experts 
are asked to sum up "in the 15 seconds we have left." Most preachers 
meet this challenge by composing shorter sermons. 

Television, an intimate medium, also zooms in close, and viewers have 
learned to watch for subtle expressions rather than grand gestures. Sweat- 
drenched preachers with arms flailing might have communicated well 
in cavernous convention halls or outdoor ampitheaters 50 years ago, but 
with the advent of TV, the new model of credibility and clarity is the 
network newsman who speaks with a matter-of-fact intensity. This calm 
authority is the trademark of speakers like James Dobson, and is, perhaps, 
one factor in their popularity. 

Are these changes progress or regress? It is difficult to say. But the 


goal of preaching remains the same: to apply God's timeless Word in 
timely ways. 
By Marshall Shelley, managing editor of Leadership 

World Evangelism 

One word says it all for 30 years of North American foreign mission 
agencies: growth — staggering, surprising growth. 

The economic prosperity of American churches (and American society 
generally), religious freedom, and the entrepreneurial spirit have all 
coalesced to give birth to more agencies than there have ever been. While 
some smaller agencies threw in their lot with larger ones, new ones ar- 
rived and hit the trail for money and recruits at a feverish pace. Today 
some 700-plus agencies serve overseas. 

The younger agencies tended to seize on some unique, narrowly focused 
ministry, or they successfully captured youth's zeal to do something on 
short notice that could be seen to make a difference in some hurting 
part of the world - Youth With a Mission and Operation Mobilization, 
for example. Some new agencies, like Mission Society for United 
Methodists, owed their birth to new evangelical groupings in U.S. 
mainline churches. 

In terms of money, agencies reporting figures to the latest Missions 
Advanced Research and Communication Center (MARC) survey said 
they have received more than $1 billion for overseas work, which is an 
all-time high. Less than 20 years ago the total was $317 million. In terms 
of personnel, in 1956 there were some 30,000 North American Protes- 
tant missionaries; today there are 68,000. 

Hidden in that 68,000 total is a highly significant trend: 30,000 of these 
people are short-term, as opposed to career, missionaries. Only 6 years 
ago short-termers numbered 18,000 and 30 years ago the idea was bare- 
ly thinkable. You volunteered for a lifetime commitment to foreign mis- 
sions - or not at all. 

What missionaries actually do has also changed, from traditional 
pioneering to institutional work. Probably no more than a quarter of 
today's missionaries are now front-line troops doing raw evangelism. 
This is true partly because churches have been planted in astounding 
numbers in the last three decades - foreign missionaries have an enviable 
track record of accomplishing what they set out to do. It is also true 
because institutional work absorbs more and more money and more and 
more people in such ministries as schools, hospitals, radio stations, and 


printing and publishing establishments. Today the missionary vocation, 
short-term or long-term, is basically the same as any existing vocation 
in the U.S. 

But pioneering hasn't been forgotten, thanks to new impetus to track 
down and evangelize pockets of people yet to be touched with the gospel. 
If the church-growth movement forced missionaries to use social science 
research to plant churches among responsive peoples, the unreached- 
peoples movement has forced them to forge unique strategies to gain 
a hearing among narrowly focused tribal entities. 

Also, in the last decade or two, U.S. missionaries have looked over 
their shoulders to find thousands and thousands of co-workers joining 
their ranks - not from stateside churches, but from churches that previous 
generations of missionaries had founded. World evangelism is in fact 
now the task of the world church. And that is perhaps the most signifi- 
cant trend of all. 

James W. Reapsome is director of Evangelical Missions Informa- 
tion Service and editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly , Wheaton, 


Proliferation and Cooperation 

Over the last three decades, evangelicals have been prolific, creating 
more than 40 new Christian liberal arts colleges, nearly a dozen new 
theological seminaries, and numberous Bible institutes and schools, many 
based in local churches. Prominent television preachers have put enor- 
mous effort into founding and marketing Christian colleges like CBN 
University, Liberty University, and Oral Roberts University - showing 
once again just how closely intertwined are the church's dual tasks of 
evangelism and education. 

With the marticulation of postwar "baby-boomers," Christian college 
enrollments surged, in part because many parents saw these institutions 
as relatively safer than the turbulent public mega-universities awash in 
student protest, drugs, and sexual liberalism. 

More noteworthy than this growth in the number, size and diversity 
of institutions of Christian higher education has been the rapid improve- 
ment in the quality of academic programs and facilities during the last 
15 to 20 years. 

Most dramatic, however, have been the gains made in assembling a 
dedicated, well-prepared group of Christian scholar-teachers. The col- 
leges have insisted on their right to appoint men and women to their 


faculties who are avowedly Christian - even when the teachers' subject 
areas are not explicitly religious. This practice has sometimes been 
challenged by private plaintiffs and governmental agencies alleging 
discrimination on religious grounds. But Christian liberal arts colleges 
find their essential distinctives in the active integration of the Christian 
faith with each of the disciplines and across the entire curriculum. 

Faculty members are now expected to lead and coach students in the 
development of a comprehensive Christian world view in which biblical 
perspectives are shown to be relevant to all fields of study. Since the 
early 1970s scholars in nearly every discipline have organized a profes- 
sional society for those intent upon developing Christian perspectives 
in their specialties. These "guilds of believing scholars," such as the 
Society of Christian Philosophers, the Conference on Faith and History, 
and the American Scientific Affiliation, constitute a powerful resource 
for Christian higher education. 

The Christian colleges have also recognized the benefits of coopera- 
tion. The 13-member Christian College Consortium and the larger Chris- 
tian College Coalition (with approximately 70 institutions) offer mutually 
helpful programs and shared resources. Similarly, the Fellowship of 
Evangelical Seminary Presidents unites more than 40 theological schools 
in mutual support. Such close cooperation would have seemed impossible 
30 years ago. 

Evangelicals have also been attending seminary in record numbers. 
Some seminaries have experienced five- and even tenfold increases in 
their student bodies. Equally striking has been the increased diversity 
of the student bodies, including more minorities, women, and second- 
career people. 

In the last 15 years, typical seminary course offerings have proliferated 
and new degrees have appeared. Instead of one basic divinity degree, 
most seminaries now offer a number of graduate degrees, including in- 
service continuing education leading to the Doctor of Ministry. 

Of course, evangelical higher education still faces some serious 
challenges and questions. Will there be a top-flight Christian research 
university (now no closer to realization that when it was first discussed 
30 years ago)? Will evangelical colleges and seminaries be able to sus- 
tain their enrollments as the traditional pool of students continues to 
shrink? Will students and their parents sufficiently value a distinctive 
Christian education or will they opt for more vocationally oriented, less 
costly training in state universities and community colleges? And will 
Christian colleges be able to maintain their identity as sectarian 
secularism, the courts, and governmental agencies, challenge them at 


the point of their theological and moral distinctives? 

By George K. Brushaber, president, Bethel College and Seminary, 
St. Paul, Minnesota. 


The Language of the Age 

In 1927, G.K. Chesterton visited America and observed the lack of 
spiritual culture among its people. "Their culture comes from the great 
cities; and that is wherever all the evil comes from." His central objec- 
tion was not so much that the cinema goes to places like "Oklahoma, 
as that it does not come from Oklahoma." 

Since 1956, however, American culture has been penetrated, and some 
would say saturated, from places like Oklahoma, Virginia, and Illinois. 

Thirty years ago radio dominated Christian communication. It was 
a remarkably appropriate and effective vehicle for the evangelical church, 
whose central mission was the preaching of the Word. The mighty voices 
of men like Charles E. Fuller and Theodore Epp brought audiences back 
to the Bible for old-fashioned revival. 

In October, 1961, M.G. "Pat" Robertson established his Christian televi- 
sion station, giving birth to the Christian Broadcasting Network. CBN 
attempted to reach Christian and non-Christian audiences by mixing 
religious programs like the "700 Club" with family entertainment. 

The print media has paralleled both the dramatic rise of broadcasting 
and the evangelical and charismatic movements. The publishing work 
of Pat Zondervan and the revolutionary publishing of Kenneth Taylor's 
Living Bible whetted an appetite for reading in an age of electronic media. 

One of the most significant changes since 1956 has been the evangelical 
response to the cinema. In its first year of publication, a contributing 
editor of Christianity Today questioned whether he should "support 
Hollywood or the Kingdom of God." Three decades later a CT survey 
revealed that clergy attend more films than their church members. 

In 1956, Cecil B. DeMille lured a neglected church audience to his 
"reverential" spectacular. The Ten Commandments. Today, Chariots of 
Fire and TJie Color Purple draw the faithful into the film fold. Televi- 
sion, in part, enabled the film industry to invade the home and thus at- 
tract evangelicals into the once-forbidden theatres. 

Recognizing that "faith comes by hearing and sometimes by seeing," 
World Wide Pictures began to preach through films like The Hiding Place. 
With them, however, and alternative Christian cinema is now evolving 
behind the talents of Ken Curtis, John Schmidt and others. 


Although gospel radio missions, such as Far Eastern Broadcasting 
Company and Trans World Radio, now stretch across international boun- 
daries and reach millions in restricted areas, radio has been eclipsed 
by the phenomenal growth of television evangelism. 

The dominant ritual of our technological civilization has become televi- 
sion viewing. Malcolm Muggerridge declared that TV and the media 
are "incomparably the greatest single influence in our society today," 
and a destructive and malign one at that. 

In contrast to the witty but dour pessimism of Muggeridge, Billy 
Graham in 1978 attributed the effectiveness of evangelism "not only to 
the power of the Holy Spirit, but to the fact that the broadcasting media 
have been open to us. I believe one of the greatest factors in the religious 
resurgence in this country has been the impact of religious radio and 

Rex Humbard pioneered television evangelism, joining the ever-popular 
Fulton J. Sheen on the small screen. The first to buy network time for 
religious programming, Humbard introduced his "Cathedral of Tomor- 
row," a rousing, evangelistic Ed Sullivan-like church service with enter- 
tainers like Mahalia Jackson attracting a wide audience. 

Encouraged by Humbard. Oral Roberts entered the new medium, show- 
ing God's miraculous workings on prime time, and bringing a slick, con- 
temporary flair. Others, like Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, and Robert 
Schuller, followed, adopting either the old radio preaching format or 
the increasingly popular talk-show approach. 

Over 30 years ago, C.S. Lewis identified the missionary task of the 
church as presenting "that which is timeless (the same yesterday, today 
and tomorrow) in the particular language of our own age." The domi- 
nant language of our own age continues to be the mass media, and our 
business continues to be to use these tools to communicate the good 
news of Jesus Christ. 

By Terry Lindvall, associate professor of communications at CBN 
University, Virginia Beach, Virginia. 


Impatient to Do God's Work 

No other trait more sharply identifies contemporary American 
evangelicals than their parachurch pattern of organization. While many 
millions of Americans can affirm evangelical doctrines, the people and 
congregations who identify most strongly with "evangelicalism" are those 
who feel at least as much at home with this vast network of independent 


eligious agencies as with their particular denominations. 

"EvangeHcals" and "parachurch" have become nearly synonymous 
n recent decades because evangelicals have been, by and large, the 
'displaced persons" of mainline Protestantism, whether or not they have 
tctually left the older denominations. The fiindamentalist-modernist con- 
roversies of the 1920s prompted evangelicals to found independent 
)rganizations to carry out their gospel mandate. Bible institutes, col- 
eges, seminaries, publishing and broadcasting works, mission agencies, 
;vangelistic ministries, interdenominational and professional fellowships, 
ind eventually public action committees all have been spawned by 
ivangelicals' grassroots religious vitality and distrust of the liberal Pro- 
estant establishment. 

Trends since World War II have accelerated this pattern. In the late 
940s and early 1950s, a new generation of evangelical leaders began 
emerge. They were impatient with both churchly and sectarian ef- 
brts to do the Lord's work, seasoned in the methods of modern business 
md publicity, and hopeful of pursuing a "world vision" of Christian 
evival and expansion. From their efforts came the National Associa- 
ion of Evangelicals, Youth for Christ, World Vision, the Christian 
business Men's Committees, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Associa- 
ion, Christianity Today, and scores of other ministries. 

The success of these "flagship" agencies of evangelicalism has en- 
louraged a seemingly endless proliferation of such groups. Parachurch 
growth accompanied later evangelical surges, such as the charismatic 
novement, the drive for evangelical social action, and the recent mobiliza- 
ion of the religious New Right. 

The parachurch pattern of organization has obvious advantages. It 
illows Christians to band together quickly in a common cause where 
here is an apparent need for collective witness. They need not lobby 
or support within a large and diverse denomination, or fear censure 
vithin a tighdy controlled sect. Parachurch organizations encourage in- 
lovation yet pose no risks to other ministries. And because of new rules 
hat enforce church-state separation, special-purpose organizations may 
)rovide the only opportunities for Christian witness in public affairs. 

However, these independent agencies pose problems as well. Often 
ontrolled by one person or a coterie, such groups offer few chances 
or constituents to help shape their direction. And despite the standards 
et by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the books 
»f many agencies remain closed. 

Since the parachurch often favors corporate models of management 
ind "marketing," its agencies seem no closer to biblical standards for 
lecision making and leadership than bureaucratic denominations. Self- 


seeking individualism tlireatens to unravel our churches and nation, but 
parachurch groups, as enclaves of the like-minded, cannot reconcile 
diverse people and provide true community. 

As long as evangelicals remain minority parties outside the Protes- 
tant establishment, they will need parachurch groups to pursue their call- 
ings. But as long as they preach a gospel that accepts all penitents "just 
as they are" and grafts them into Christ's body, they will need congrega- 
tions and denominations. Para-church, after all, means alongside of, in 
support of, the church. 

By Joel Carpenter, assistant professor of history, Wheaton Col- 
lege (111.). 

Reprinted by permission of Christianity Today 




An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion 

William J. Abraham 

Englewood Cliffs: Prentiss Hall, 1985 

258 pages. $16.95 (p.b.) 


There was a time in the course of the intellectual history of the Western 
World when philosophy was seen as the handmaiden of theology. It's 
function was to aid in the process which Anselm called "fides quaerens 
intellectum" - faith seeking understanding. Nowadays, however, 
philosophy seems to have a rather different job description altogether. 

Few and far between are the Alvin Plantingas or Thomas Morrises 
or John Hickses who see philosophy and religion as still having a vital 
relationship to one another. They still see that an essential task of 
philosophy is to expand and expound upon theological concepts such 
as sin, evil, freedom, incarnation, predestination, and others. In the 
post Wittgensteinian age of doing philosophy, however, one is much 
more apt to find a philosopher who: a) is interested in linguistic analysis 
and theories of meaning per se; b) fundamentally is a logician; c) sees 
it as his chief task to explore the presuppositions and epistemologies 
of various modern schools of thought; or d) is interested in the inter- 
face between philosophy and various other academic subjects such as 
science or history. Philosophy, then, has come a long way from the 
days in the Middle Ages when it was so preoccupied with the "rational" 
proofs for the existence of God. 

In our post-modern era, philosophy of religion has often been look- 
ed upon, both by philosophers and theologians, as more of a step-child 
than a handmaiden and thus has been seldom embraced. At best, 
philosophy of religion has been seen as a small subset of the general 
subject called philosophy - and set aside for those with antiquarian in- 
terests and tendencies. 

The reasons for this state of affairs is complex. It is due in part to 
the widely accepted judgement that religious language is not cognitive, 
that is, that such language may tell us reams about the subject which 
speaks such language, but it tells us little or nothing about objective 
reality, never mind the 'absolute' or ultimate reality. 

Into this foreboding environment, William Abraham has launched an 
ambitious primer entitled. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. 
This book is ambitious not only because of the intellectual climate into 
which it has been thrust, but also because for some time now students 



of philosophy have cut their teeth on John Hicks' Philosophy of Religion, 
now in its third edition. Further, Abraham seeks to say a Httle something 
about most every major topic philosophy of religion has ever dealt with, 
as a scan of the chapter titles will show: 'Religious Language', 'Natural 
Theology', 'Religious Experience', 'The Problem of Evil', 'Religion 
and Morality', Miracles', 'World Religions', 'Life After Death', 'Chris- 
tianity and Marxism', 'Grace and Freedom', etc. 

As one might expect, herein lies the strength and weakness of this 
book. Sometimes the morsel is so small that instead of whetting the 
appetite, it simply frustrates the taster. Can the reader really be pro- 
perly introduced to the philosophical questions involved in a discus- 
sion of world religions in 13 pages? There is some virtue, though, for 
the beginner to have a relatively complete menu before them at the start 
2ven if the presentation of the entrees is more evocative than descrip- 
tive. On this score, Abraham is more useful than Hicks in showing the 
range of subjects involved in the discipline. 

In the beginning (p. xiii) Abraham admits that he will follow a 
somewhat eclectic procedure - sometimes surveying an issue, sometimes 
discussing one argument, sometimes commenting on one author's argu- 
ment. This leads a certain unevenness to the book and a lack of 
thoroughness at some points. It also becomes apparent that there is a 
troika of authors who will serve as a foil for Abraham's comments on 
various subjects - namely, Hicks, Plantinga, and Richard Swinburne, 
[n some cases, the book begins to read like a running critique of one 
3r the other of these three scholars. This is necessary at some points 
Decause Abraham is trying to give an apologetic for his own approach 
:o philosophy of religion or to one of its major topics vis-a-vis his closest 
:olleagues in the field. 

What then are Abraham's aims besides introducing philosophy of 
religion to the beginner? Clearly one aim is to show the value and validity 
3f philosophy in general and philosophy of religion in particular to an 
otherwise skeptical audience. Abraham is sensitive to the suspicion 
Dhilosophy labors under especially in the Christian community and in 
3articular among evangelicals. Thus, Abraham wishes to show that 
Dhilosophy of religion can be profitable study even for the orthodox. 
[t should not be surprising then that Abraham admits at the outset that 
le will focus on questions that the Christian faith has found crucial. 
\ more appropriate title might be 'An Introduction to the Philosophy 
3f the Christian Religion'. The actual title is a bit misleading. 

Another aim is apparent as one works through the various chapters. 
\braham, in contradition to Plantinga, is taking an Arminian approach 
:o various important issues such as the relationship of grace and human 


ability, God's sovereignty, and human free will. It should then not be 
surprising that John Wesley's name appears frequently in this work on 
philosophy of Christianity. 

Several salient features remain with the reader. First, this book is 
much more readable than many of the analytical and arid tomes now 
available on the philosophy of religion. Thus, Abraham's style helps 
to achieve his aims. Further, Abraham has presented a useful case for 
the view that philosophy of religion can still serve as a handmaiden to 
theology in four regards: 1) as a sort of preparatio evangelici, clearing 
away unnecessary intellectual roadblocks to hearing and responding to 
the Christian faith on its own terms (as such it can serve as an apologetic 
tool); 2) it can aid in drawing out the logical implications of and work 
out the contradictions in a particular Christological world view; 3) it 
can help provide an epistemological foundation for discussions between 
Christianity and other religions and various other forms of truth seek- 
ing; 4) it can aid Christianity in its ongoing task of self-definition. 

Abraham has done a useful job of arguing for the value and validity 
of religious language, the possibility and importance of revelation and 
miracles, the necessity of dealing with the problem of evil, as well as 
with all the hard facts of reality if one's world view is to be adequate. 
On the other hand, his treatment of the traditional proofs of the existence 
of God is much too cursory, especially in regard to the ontological argu- 
ment and especially so since this has been in the past a central and vital 
part of any study of philosophy of religion. It would have been useful 
also if there had been bibliographies at the end of each chapter to guide 
the student into further reading. 

All in all, this book may be termed an exercise in soft rationalism 
even as it tries to deal with hard facts. The book has a cumulative ef- 
fect, so that the weaknesses in some parts of the study do not detract 
from the worthwhileness of the work as a whole. Likewise, Abraham 
shows that the case for Christianity must be made cumulatively using 
a variety of data and arguments. Certainly this is a book with more 
strengths than weaknesses and should be applauded for its clarity and 

Long ago, Dante, in his Divine Comedy, relegated the great 
philosophers of the pre-Christian era to the first circle of Hades, a 
dungeon from which they and their subject have never entirely escaped 
in the minds of many believers. It may be hoped that this book may 
go some way toward rehabilitating philosophy, if not particular 
philosophers, as an important subject for the religious community. If 
it achieves no more than this it will have still served a very worthwhile 

— The Editor 


Woman in the Bible 

by M.J. Evans 

Downers Grove: I.V. Press. 1983. 160 pages 



The author of the Book of Ecclesiastes said more than he realized 
when he remarked, "Of the making of books there is no end..." At least 
for the last two decades this particular remark could quite easily be ap- 
plied to one particular topic - women in the Bible. The sheer volume 
of material on this one subject is staggering and indicates the keen in- 
terest in women's roles in the church and Christian community. Clear- 
ly, the sexual revolution of our age has had its impact on the church. 
The weight of material written on women in the Bible, however, is not 
proportionate to its worth, and so perhaps there is some reason for yet 
another book. 

Mary Evans has attempted to provide an overview of the relevant 
biblical data in 160 brief pages and for this reason alone it is worth 
reading. In an age of specialized studies this book is for those who want 
a study that is conversant with most of the scholarly work in the field, 
but also succinct and conversational in style while still being comprehen- 
sive in its coverage. The reader looking for an attempt to apply the data 
to today's church situation will go away disappointed, but the person 
who wants an introduction to what the relevant data is may fmd this book 
very useful. 

The book is divided into five chapters of varying length and quality. 
We get a scant 11 pages of background material to help set the social 
milieu in which the NT material was written. When we contrast this 
with some 54 pages of Paul's epistles alone, we see that the stage was 
set very quickly so that major players can appear as soon as possible. 
Unfortunately, this leads to a caricaturing of much of the background 
material so that it is pitted over against the 'more enlightened' views 
of Jesus and Paul at almost every point. It is also unfortunate that the 
Jesus material gets an all too brief 13 page treatment. Once again, one 
is left with the impression that it is Paul, and not Jesus, that is the real 
bone of contention. A more balanced approach would have been more 
helpful. Nevertheless, it is in the Pauline material that the author in fact 
sheds some light and so helps to advance the discussion. The chapter 
on the or is of moderate usefulness, as are the sections of chapters four 


and five that deal with non-Pauline material, but, unfortunately, the non- 
Pauline material is much too speedily dispatched (6-7 pages). In this 
case, less is not more. 

In one regard this book may be compared to other semi-popular 
treatments on this subject by L. Swidler, the Staggs, or J. Danielou, 
but a more fruitful point of analogy lies in the other attempts by 
Evangelical scholars to deal with this subject. Clearly Ms. Evans writes 
from, and to some extent for, a conservative audience and so should 
be compared to the attempts of P.K. Jewett, G.W. Knight, J.B. Hurley, 
S. Foh, or V. Mollenkott, to name but a few. For those not of an 
Evangelical orientation, Evans' treatment of both the OT and Gospel 
material will appear to be either pre- or non-critical. Then too, the 
author's failure to use inclusive language (she repeatedly refers to man 
and mankind in generic terms) will alienate even some of her own 
Evangelical audience. This is unfortunate because she has many useful 
things to say from a more egalitarian point of view within the Evangelical 

Ms. Evans presents a carefully reasoned (and reasonable) apology for 
the basically egalitarian orientation of the early church and its major 
founders, Jesus and Paul (provided one accepts her conservative presup- 
positions). She does, however, strain credulity at points when she tries 
to argue that Paul himself was not a supporter of the traditional family 
structure in which the husband's headship implied a certain authority 
and role. Further, is it really believable that Paul did not intend his readers 
of I Corinthians 11 and 14, I Timothy 2, and Ephesians 5 (if the latter 
texts are Pauline) to deduce that there was a creation order structure 
to male-female relationships that was to be reaffirmed in Christ and had 
implications for both appearance and behavior? Whether or not one agrees 
with Paul, it is more than a litde difficult to make him appear to be 
egalitarian in all his utterances. Nonetheless, Ms. Evans is to be com- 
mended for not taking the easy route out and simply writing off certain 
texts, or the Apostle himself, as hopelessly contradictory on the issue 
of women and their roles in the Christian community. Her approach 
is consistent, even-handed, and avoids majoring in minors. 

Without doubt there will yet be more books written on this subject 
and undoubtedly there will be better ones. There are few, however, that 
have come forth from Evangelical writers that are more readable or useful 
than Woman in the Bible from a generally egalitarian point of view. Evans 
avoids stereotyping women into the Eve or Mary camp, and makes clear 
the new freedom and sense of equality those first female converts must 
have sensed in the early church. In this and several other regards she 
has helped the ongoing discussion. 

— The Editor 


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